UFC 297: Sean Strickland sets off firestorm with homophobic remarks, attack on journalist

UFC champ Sean Strickland says he's ready to knife Dricus Du Plessis. Sure buddy.

By: Zane Simon | 1 month
UFC 297: Sean Strickland sets off firestorm with homophobic remarks, attack on journalist
Sean Strickland at UFC 293.

Sean Strickland triggers huge backlash with pre-fight remarks

UPDATE by Nate Wilcox: I’m jumping into Zane’s post to add the latest Sean Strickland shenanigans. He was confronted about his past homophobic remarks by Alex Lee of MMA Fighting and attempted to turn the tables by attacking Lee in the strongest possible terms.

Here’s the video of their exchange:

Mediaite has the transcript (obscenities removed because we have a deal with MSN):

Before the reporter even asked the question, Strickland asked him if he was “part of the opposition” when the reporter informed him he was Canadian. The reporter was confused by the question, prompting Strickland to clarify and ask him if he voted for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. When the reporter declined to answer, Strickland claimed it was proof that he did vote for him. He also called the reporter “the enemy of Canada.”

Finally, the reporter asked Strickland about something he said in the past about disapproving of his son being gay. Strickland cut him off and asked if he was gay, to which the reporter claimed he’s an ally. Then, Strickland asked what he would do if his son was gay. When the reporter said he’d be OK with it, Strickland went off.

“You’re a weak man, dude,” Strickland said. “You’re part of the problem. You elected Justin Trudeau when he seized the bank accounts. You’re just pathetic. And the fact that you have no backbone as he shut down your fucking country and seized bank accounts, you asked me some stupid **** like that? Go **** yourself. Move the **** on, man. (Effing) coward.”

Then, the reporter followed up by asking Strickland about past comments about the trans community. When the UFC announced its partnership with Bud Light, Strickland voiced his disapproval for that, as well.

“Here’s the thing about Bud Light,” Strickland said. “Ten years ago, to be trans was a mental fucking illness; and now, all of sudden, people like you have weaseled your way in the world. You are an infection. You are the definition of weakness. Everything that is wrong with the world is because of (effing) you.

“And the best thing is the world’s not buying it. The world’s not buying your (effing BS) you’re (effing) peddling. The world is not saying, ‘You know what? You’re right. Fucking chicks have *****.’ The world’s not saying that. The world’s saying, ‘No, there are two genders.’ I don’t want my kids being taught about who they could **** in school. I don’t want my kids being taught about their sexual preference.”

Strickland then continued to direct his fury at the reporter for asking the question.

“This guy is the enemy,” he continued. “You wanna look at the enemy to our world? It’s that ******** right there, asking me stupid questions.”

Outsports spoke to Lee about the incident.

“I come from a city that has a very strong LGBTQ community,” Lee told Outsports after the encounter with Strickland. “I’ve never been comfortable with a lot of fighters’ stances on LGBTQ issues, and he’s been worse than most. I felt it was my responsibility to communities in the city of Toronto to ask these questions.”

Mainstream sports figures, as well as MMA media were quick to condemn Strickland’s statements.

This being MMA, Strickland has plenty of defenders:

Your regularly scheduled Love/Hate to see it

This week in our regularly schedule Love/Hate to See It rundown, we’ve got Mayra Bueno Silva talking plans for the UFC title and Renato Moicano keeping it absolutely 100% on fighting at the UFC Apex. We’ve also got Sean Strickland still in the feelings he tells other people not to have and that Logan Paul impersonator trying to plea his case for a shot at Nate Diaz.

As always, I’m trying to sift through the MMA’s smaller stories for news that pulls some kind of gut reaction. Love it or hate it, combat sports is never short on drama.


Mayra Bueno Silva has plans for her UFC belt

This coming weekend Mayra Bueno Silva faces off against Raquel Pennington for the women’s UFC bantamweight title. It’s a competitive booking for both women that should provide for a lot of back-and-forth action, with Pennington being the more determined, round-winning grinder and ‘Sheetara’ the more proven, dangerous finisher.

It’s a goal both women have been striving for over multiple years, and could provide either of them with life changing money. If Bueno-Silva captures gold, however, it sounds like it could also provide life changing funds for a lot of other people too.

“It’s hard to talk about this,” Silva said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “But I’m born in a community where some days I don’t eat. I don’t have water and other things. It’s hard for me to talk about this. I don’t want the kids in my community to stay in this same position. I want to change lives. I want to show for everybody if you work hard, if you believe in God, everything can happen.

“When I get the belt, I will start everything. I will start the project in my city. When I put on my belt, everything starts in my life. It’s not only about the belt, it’s about my life. This is about my dream. This is about my kids. This is about my community. This is about everything I believe in.”

Back in the days when I did more interviews, one of the questions I used to ask fighters was ‘What are your plans for the belt?’ So many fighters talk about becoming champion as the entire goal of their career, as though the world stops once they’ve got a title around their waist. But, the belt is just a means to an end. It’s official recognition of skill, an opportunity to make more money, and leverage to negotiate.

It seems like a small thing, but I can’t help feeling like it helps fighters a lot to have plans beyond just ‘becoming champ.’ Having an idea of what that title can do is having extra motivation to go out and win. And maybe, hopefully, the foresight to make better choices with the opportunities that come along.

Maybe none of what Mayra Bueno-Silva wants to do will come to fruition, maybe she’ll lose on Saturday night. But for now it’s great to see her have a cause to fight for. Especially one that seems like it could do some real good for the community around her.

Renato Moicano keeps it real

Often it feels like MMA fighters have little to no personality for years. Then, suddenly, almost out of nowhere, they start showing the world their hidden selves. As often as not, I wish they’d kept it all hidden. Jake Matthews going all in on his fellow fighters over fighter pay, Jamahal Hill: domestic abuse defender, Aljamain Sterling: Andrew Tate superfan… just leave it at home. Nobody asked for this.

Renato Moicano, on the other hand, has been a revelation. The Brazilian has made a habit lately of getting on YouTube to post rants, highlighting problems with referees, problems with the UFC, and his own desire, of course, to make more money.

In a recent interview , Moicano talked about his upcoming bout against Drew Dober, where he’ll be playing co-main event to a middleweight bout between Nassourdine Imavov and Roman Dolidze. So is the 34-year-old excited to get some prominent card placement after sitting in the featured prelim spot last time out?

“This is a Fight Night. Nobody gives a s—t about Fight Nights,” Moicano told MMA Junkie. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the co-main event, main event, or the prelims. Who gives a f—k? It’s just a s—ty way to put UFC on ESPN. So hey, Dana White, I’d rather be on UFC 299. But I don’t make the rules. I’m an employee. Feb. 3, I will beat Drew Dober. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the Apex. Nobody likes the Apex, my brother. You can ask anybody. The fans hate the Apex. The fighters, I’m pretty sure they don’t like the Apex, too.”

“… “I know the UFC has so many fighters right now and have to make so many fights. It makes sense for the Apex and ESPN. If you’re asking me if I’m happy to fight at the Apex, no way, brother. No way. Imagine UFC 299 in Miami, a lot of people, you have a great performance and then you can talk in a mic with a great guy like Joe Rogan or even Michael Bisping, DC, and you can express yourself.”

A couple years ago, when the UFC first established their run of APEX events, at the height of the pandemic, I felt pretty sure they’d never leave. The promotion had created a cheap and easy way to put on filler content in a location they control, that doesn’t require travel coordination, site fees, or a need to attract a live gate. In 2024, it seems clear that’s just the reality fans will have to accept. The promotion might be traveling more than it was during the height of the pandemic, but there’s little desire or necessity from the promotion to leave.

In that kind of environment, the best anyone can do is call it like it is. There may be no changing the UFC’s course, but there’s no reason to be happy about it either. Can’t help but appreciate Moicano being willing to speak his mind.


Sean Strickland can’t pick a lane

I suppose I’ll start this out by saying that, just like Strickland’s insinuations that Ian Machado Garry’s wife is a pedophile, or Colby Covington trash talking Leon Edwards’ dead dad, Dricus du Plessis’ comments about Stricklands abusive childhood genuinely suck ass. It’s part of the current ‘f— your feelings’ MAGAfied era of the UFC, and it seems to be something that more fighters are willing to embrace.

A recent piece on MMA Fighting highlighted the exact culture at play, talking to a whole bunch of Strickland’s current and former teammates about his behavior in the gym. The narrative, without exception is one that the current middleweight champ is a fantastic teammate, as long as training partners aren’t sissies who can’t handle a little tough talk.

“I think he’s a great teammate,” Xtreme Couture team captain Brad Tavares told Fighting. “If you’re sensitive and your f—ing feelings get hurt, then you’re not going to like Sean. Simple as that. If you’re not a p—y and you can get past what he’s saying—not even what he’s saying, but how he’s saying it, that’s just how he is—if you can get past that, then you really see he’s actually trying to help you. He really is an addition and a plus for the team.

“If you can get past that, you’ll like Sean. If you’re sensitive and your feelings get hurt, you’re not going to like it. That’s just how it goes.”

At least to hear the likes of Tavares, Sam Alvey, Max Roshkopf, and Eric Nicksick tell it, problems people have with Strickland are largely a matter of being too soft. All this nasty rhetoric flying around is just the way fight culture is. (They aren’t all that far wrong either, considering how long fighters have been going after their opponents through the media.)

Of course, then there’s Strickland’s latest tough talk, where he says he’ll stab Du Plessis if he brings up Strickland’s trauma in Toronto.

“I’m not telling you I don’t want to fight you, Dricus,” Strickland said in a video on his YouTube channel (transcript via MMA Junkie). “I’m not saying you’re not a good fighter. I’m just saying that’s a line that, when crossed, it transcends fighting. If I go to Canada and you bring that up, guess what? I’m going to go to jail, they’re going to deport me, and we spent eight weeks of training for no f—ing reason.”

There are pretty much two ways that can skew. Either his absolutely BS-ing and isn’t about to stab anyone, least of all his PPV opponent (seems most likely), or he’s coming to grips with the reality that all these fighters just seem unwilling to face. The reality that there are actually a whole bunch of things that people aren’t interested in talking about, dragging out in public, or having used as cheap heat for a sporting contest.

Either way it makes all these dudes look like they’re entirely full of crap. People set boundaries for a reason, and those have nothing to do with how tough they are in a fight. Playing pretend on emotional vulnerability is pretty sad all around. Whether it’s pretending that he’s going to commit murder, or pretending that he’s too much of a stone cold badass to be bothered—Strickland’s just acting out a fantasy he can’t maintain. Doing both at the same time? That’s just a little hysterical.

Fake Logan Paul calls out Nate Diaz after brush with death

Hey everybody, remember that guy who was pretending to be Logan Paul for likes on Instagram? If you said ‘no’ congratulations on living a healthy, well balance life, free from the sin that is carnival combat sports.

If you said ‘yes,’ then boy have I got an update for you! In a recent video uploaded to the Misfits Boxing YouTube channel Rodney ‘Not Logan Paul’ Petersen wove a tale of shocking violence over his ill fated encounter with Nate Diaz out in the streets. To hear Peterson tell it, after getting choked unconscious and dropped on the concrete by the former UFC title contender, he’s lucky to be alive.

“I walked up to him, I was like, ‘Hey dude, calm down,’” Petersen said. “I would have bought him a drink. I did not think that he was … he walks up to me, grabs both my hands, I’m like, ‘Whoa, dude, calm down.’ He grabs both of my hands, tosses it down, throws a hook, lands on my jaw, pulls me down into a guillotine choke.

“Not only am I being choked out by Nate freaking Diaz, but I have two of Nate’s friends — one of them’s in the UFC — blast me in my ribs. At this point and time, I’m pretty sure I was already asleep. That choke was tight…”

“I’m on the ground, the back of my head hits the street. I end up with eight staples and a severe concussion. I am lucky to be alive.”

We already know the case isn’t going to criminal court, since the New Orleans Parish has declared Diaz’s actions a case of self defense and declined to pursue the case. But surely, if Petersen feels he was dealt potential life threatening injuries and never acted in aggression toward Diaz he could pursue some kind of civil case? It all sounds pretty bad, right?

Or maybe all he wants out of the whole thing is to turn it into another celebrity boxing payday. With a current pro boxing record of 0-6, Petersen claims he’d be more than happy to meet the Cesar Gracie black belt inside the ring.

“If he wants to fight me in the ring, yeah. But as far as the street goes, there was no money to be made in that,” Petersen admitted. “If he wants to box, for sure, I’d box him tomorrow.

“If he wants to do an MMA match, you’re going to have to give me some time to train … so maybe five or six years?”

Fortunately for Diaz, it seems he already has his next spectacle in hand. The 38 year old is reportedly set to face Jorge Masvidal inside the boxing ring. The two men met in the UFC already, back in 2019—with ‘Gamebred’ walking away with a third round doctor’s stoppage. Maybe once that plan’s wrapped up he’ll pick up the phone and give Petersen a ring.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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