UFC President Dana White is obviously not afraid of annoying the ‘independent contractors’ who ply their trade inside of his Octagon. The boss man has had numerous skirmishes with fighters who are both under contract with the UFC or have recently departed.
One of the latest fighters to call out ‘Uncle Dana’ is UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling. He went off in a video on his YouTube channel about how he feels he has been mistreated by White and the company.
UFC champ incensed by Dana White’s comments
On his Weekly Scraps show Sterling shared his annoyance at being strong-armed into a title defence against Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 in August (just a few months after he defended the belt to Henry Cejudo at this month’s UFC 288).
Making matters worse for Sterling is what White said during his post-fight press conference for UFC Vegas 73. That’s where White referred to ‘Da Funkmaster’ as someone who “can’t get out of their own way.”
“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,” said Sterling (ht MMA Fighting).
“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 bitch. Like, nah, bro, you’re not going to keep doing that to me, dog. Get the fuck 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?”
Dana White is ‘super nice behind closed doors’
Aljamain Sterling continued to criticize his de facto boss Dana White, suggesting he thought that UFC President was two-faced.
“Dana is super nice behind closed doors, but then he [says] I can’t get out my own way. 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 fucking 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.”
Aljamain Sterling wants respect
Sterling, who some are claiming might be the greatest UFC bantamweight champion of all-time, said he didn’t feel like the promotion was treating him with much respect.
“‘What else could you possibly want from a champion who is active, competing, doing the stuff that you ask of him, promote the fight?’ and I’m out here in these streets working,” Sterling said. “My thing with Dana is, damn, dog, why can’t you give credit where credit is due? Even if you feel I can’t get out my own way — which there’s no context behind that, because I’ve literally done everything you have asked.”
“Why is it so hard for Dana to go… ‘Absolutely the fight is done, we spoke to him, this kid’s always shown up to the fights, always makes weight, always does the media stuff, we know he’s going to show up, yeah he just fought two weeks ago, he’s a little banged up but he gave us his word he’s going to show up for this fight, the kid’s a killer, the kid’s a stud,’” Sterling added. “The same way he does for Conor. If Conor does something, ‘Wow, isn’t he awesome?’ Can I be awesome too, Dana?”
Aljamain Sterling’s record at bantamweight is impressive
Aljamain Sterling has been fighting in the UFC since 2014. In 2016 he suffered his first pro loss, a split decision to Bryan Caraway. That was followed up by a split decision loss to Raphael Assuncao.
Sterling rebounded with wins over Augusto Mendes and Renan Barao before being KO’d by Marlon Moraes (when diving in for a takedown and meeting only Moraes’ knee).
Since that loss Sterling has won nine straight contests. In 2021 he claimed the UFC bantamweight title with a DQ win over Petr Yan (due to an illegal knee). A year later he defended the title against Yan, via split decision.
Six months after that Sterling defended the title to former champion T.J. Dillashaw. This month he beat Henry Cejudo, also by split decision.
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