Aljamain Sterling is coming out once again to remind fight fans — as well as Dana White and Co. — he really didn’t want to fight Sean O’Malley at UFC 292, which takes place next month (Aug. 19, 2023) inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Not that this should surprise those who were following the story. UFC President, Dana White, announced O’Malley vs. Sterling at UFC 292 immediately after “Funkmaster” defeated Henry Cejudo at UFC 288. That’s little more than three months between title defenses, which is not usual in this day and age. However, Sterling pushed back against the booking and immediately took a lot of flack from White over it.
Now, he’s begrudgingly accepted the bout, but he’s clearly not happy about it.
The three-time Bantamweight champion explained the situation in a new appearance on his YouTube show, The Weekly Scraps.
“People don’t understand how much time I actually put into the sport,” he said (via MMA News). “Sometimes, you could get a little burned out. Sometimes that can take a lot out of you mentally. That’s why after this [UFC 288] fight, I had so much things with Henry, so many things planned out, that I just wanted to decompress and stop thinking about fighting for once because I do so much to get to the fight and prep myself to mentally get ready for battle. I had that just kinda ripped from underneath my legs.
“Now I’m like, ‘Okay, this time you motherf—ers are not doing this to me again.’” he continued. “I’m gonna fight, even though it’s literally against my will. People can say whatever. If Dana were to hear this, Hunter [Campbell] were to hear this, they would say, ‘Oh, we’re not making him do anything.’ Let’s be real here, bro. Come on, dude. You kinda are. You kinda are. Let’s call a spade a spade.
“I’m not trying to say all the behind the scenes things because that would be bad business on my part, but you kind of are making me fight sooner than I’d like because like I said, I still have injuries,” Sterling added.
“I could simply tell these guys, ‘No, don’t call my f—ing phone, I’m not fighting,’” he added. “I could do that. But again, behind the scenes stuff. They have their ways to kind of make you go, ‘You know what, I’m going to do this for you guys again. Even though I’m not going to get any ‘Thank yous’ for it. I’ll do it for you guys again, and hopefully this has some sort of good faith going toward the future. And please, after this, let me enjoy my life a little bit and the fruits of my labor.”
Based on the way White has been burying Sterling every time his 135-pound champion points out the tight timeline between defenses, we’re unsure Aljo is earning any brownie points off this O’Malley match. It’s not enough that “Funkmaster” is going along with the fight, he’s probably expected to suck it up and not complain about the circumstances, either.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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