Dana White responds to disgruntled UFC champ: ‘How am I not giving him credit? Ridiculous!’

Dana White called criticism from a reigning UFC champion 'ridiculous' after he was accused of not giving credit or respect where it was due.

By: Tim Bissell | 4 months ago
Dana White responds to disgruntled UFC champ: ‘How am I not giving him credit? Ridiculous!’
Dana White. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

UFC President Dana White has gotten into a war of words with his current bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling. This latest kerfuffle, between White and a fighter (of which there are many), seems to have began when White said that Sterling was a guy who “couldn’t get out of his own way.”

This remark resulted in a passionate rebuke from Sterling.

Aljamain Sterling went off on Dana White

On his YouTube channel Aljamain Sterling listed a number of grievances he has with Dana White over his treatment during the past few years.

Chief among those complaints was a feeling that White did not respect him as a fighter or a champion. Sterling’s evidence for this were the comments he heard from White and also some circumstances around his title defending fights.

“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,” said Sterling. “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?”

Additionally, Sterling has also stressed that he was unsure about fighting in three months time. The UFC expects Sterling to face Sean O’Malley at UFC 292. However, Sterling has gone on record saying he’d like longer to rest after his five round decision win over Cejudo at UFC 288 earlier this month.

Dana White said Sterling’s comments were ‘ridiculous’, threatens interim title fight

Dana White recently (and exclusively) spoke to FanSided MMA about what is going down between him and Sterling.

Dana White was interviewed by FanSided MMA.

“I didn’t give him enough credit?” responded White when questioned over Sterling’s comments.

“Well, first of all, I didn’t hear what he said, number one,” added White, before repeating what Sterling had said about the proposed O’Malley match-up. “Number two, I’m not the one that went out and said, ‘If my body holds up,’ when I’m promoting a fight. If you’re not healthy, don’t take the fight.”

“We’ll have somebody else fight, we’ll do somebody else for the interim title,” continued White. “Don’t say you’re going to go out and fight and then start saying stuff like, ‘If my [body holds up].’ What’s the first thing that happened? As soon as I was at the [UFC Vegas 73] press conference, I was asked, ‘Is Aljamain Sterling really going to fight or not?’

Is that what you want the fans thinking? How is that me not giving him credit? I didn’t say anything! That was a Saturday afternoon. I was home, working out, minding my own business when my phone starts blowing up and Henry Cejudo is calling me saying, ‘I’ll take the fight, I’ll take the fight.’ Why? Is Aljo out? ‘Yeah, he’s already making excuses, if his body holds up, just give me the fight, we’ll fight for the interim.’ … Then I walk into the press conference and one of the first things I’m asked is, ‘Hey is Aljamain still fighting?’ How am I not giving him credit? Ridiculous!”

If things go according to White’s plan, Sterling will defend his UFC bantamweight title against Sean O’Malley at August 19.

However, if Sterling does not take that fight, White seems totally content with making an interim title fight (possibly involving Cejudo and O’Malley) despite Sterling defending the belt just three months prior.

Dana White recently used an interim title in the heavyweight division

This isn’t the first time the UFC has used an interim title fight to force a fighter onto their schedule.

When Francis Ngannou was holding out for a big money fight with Jon Jones, the UFC made an interim heavyweight title bout between Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis. Once Gane won the interim belt, Ngannou was forced to face him in a title unification bout or have his belt stripped (thus losing a lot of power at the negotiating table for his new contract).

Ngannou would go onto beat Gane and then leave the promotion. He signed a mega-contract with PFL last week.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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