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‘Big’ John McCarthy calls ‘bulls—t’ on Dana White saying Israel Adesanya looked slow at UFC 293

There has been much to unpack from the big Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title fight upset between Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland at UFC 293 this past weekend (Sept. 9, 2023) in Sydney, Australia.

In the pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Strickland wandered his way “Down Under” and quickly became somewhat of a fan favorite (depends on who you ask, of course). The outspoken American used the energy of the arena to fuel him to a huge unanimous decision victory (watch highlights), crowning him as the new champion after a long stretch of fights inside UFC’s APEX facility.

Unfortunately for Strickland, there has been some downplaying of his performance, to certain degrees. UFC President, Dana White, noted in the event’s post-fight press conference (watch it here) that he felt Adesanya looked slower than normal and was just off overall.

From veteran referee, “Big” John McCarthy’s, seat, he couldn’t disagree more.

“Bulls—t. Dana can have his opinion,” McCarthy said on Weighing In (h/t MiddleEasy). “You gotta understand, Israel is a moneymaker for the UFC. Of course, Dana’s gonna have a preference here in who his champion is because one makes big money and one right now is not that guy maybe, Sean will be that guy but to sit there and say he looked slow, he did not look slow, he did not look slow at all. And he showed he was faster than Sean Strickland.

“‘Izzy’ is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound fighter, he’s got a very long reach but the guys that give him problems are guys that can match that… the time and managing the range and deciding when the engagement is going to occur, when he can do that, he’s unbeatable because he’s so goddamn gifted,” he continued. “He couldn’t do that against Alex [Pereira], Alex crushed that on him and gave him problems. Sean in this fight, crushed that well. He was unable to control that range. Sean kept the pressure on he tried, he was working to try to control the range and every time Sean just walked right through… and just put shots on him that made him have to reset, reset, reset, reset.”

Strickland’s impeccable defense and forward pressure made for a winning formula against “The Last Stylebender.” While past opponents of Adesanya’s — Pereira, in particular — found success with one of those elements, no one has managed to confuse the former two-time champion as much as “Tarzan.”

As one of the more active champions in recent memory, Adesanya has now been implored by several fellow fighters and fans in the community to take some time off to recover and regroup before coming back. Despite that, McCarthy still doesn’t think Adesanya was overtrained or anything of the sort.

“‘Izzy’ did not look overtrained,” McCarthy said. “If he looked overtrained, he would have been much more tired because he took a ton of shots. He was the guy that was putting out way more energy in that fight so he was in shape. He was fast, he just got beat by a style and a guy that fought beautifully that night, and now, give it up for Sean Strickland.”

For complete UFC 293 results, coverage and highlights click HERE.

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