UFC president Dana White just can’t seem to get out of his own way these days.
Wbite recently found himself on the wrong end of a criticism from former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, continuing the pair’s war of words.
And now it appears he’s landed on the bad side of yet another UFC champion. This time, it’s in the form of reigning UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.
Sterling skyrocketed to superstardom in the past year with huge wins over Petr Yan and Henry Cejudo. He’s not set to defend his bantamweight title against fellow young star Sean O’Malley.
Sterling and O’Malley are set to square off in August at UFC 292 in Boston. Though Sterling, who just fought Cejudo at UFC 288 on May 6, said that he’ll have to see how his body feels in the lead up to that fight.
White didn’t seem happy with that, stating that Sterling “is one of those guys who can’t get out of his own way,” and that the main event for the UFC’s return to Boston is “absolutely, positively on.”
Sterling wasn’t happy with that response. And he took to the airwaves on Monday to let White know.
“You put me in this situation and you make it sound as if… if you want me to be the bad guy, tell me behind closed doors,” Sterling said on The Weekly Scraps.
“I’ll play the character, but get me in on the joke, but not when you’re going to keep doing this stuff, making me look like a b****. Like, nah, bro, you’re not going to keep doing that to me, dog. Get the f*** out of here. Dana, get out of here with that. I’ve done everything the UFC has asked me to do — two partially torn biceps, went through two training camps like that, fought through them, beat Petr Yan, former champion. [I] beat T.J. Dillashaw, former champion.
“And then you’ve got Henry Cejudo, ‘the greatest combat athlete of all-time,’ I beat this guy, also with a partially torn bicep tendon. I got stem cells. Every time they have asked me to fight, I put my nuts on the table and I showed out every single time and won. At what point do I get credit from the UFC, from Uncle Dana?”
Clearly, Sterling had heard enough. And he didn’t stop there.
“Dana is super nice behind closed doors, but then he [says] I can’t get out my own way,” Sterling said. “Like, what does that even mean? Just clarify what that even means. If you’re going to say that because of me saying, yeah, I’m fighting, but I’m also banged up and I want to see how my body [feels], there has never been a fight that was scheduled where people signed the contract — and remember, contracts are just a formality. No one is going to sign a contract and just not show up in the UFC. That just doesn’t happen, so let’s stop pretending that’s a thing.
“I agreed to the fight, I agreed to the T.J. fight — if you want to ask Dana, ask Dana when I signed the T.J. contract, you guys are going to be wildly surprised. When I say I’m going to show up, I f****** show up and I fight.
“If we make a deal, I’m a man of my word. I show up and compete every single time. I do what champions do.”
Dana White is undoubtedly a huge part of the UFC’s success. But it’s the fighters who people pay to see. And if White continues to anger his fighters, it won’t end well for him.