On Saturday night, in the first of three title fights put on at UFC 259, Bantamweight Champ Petr Yan made an unbelievably foolish mistake and delivered an illegal knee to the head of a downed Aljamain Sterling....
It was easily the most egregious illegal knee I've ever seen in the octagon - and completely unnecessary, considering Sterling was fading and Yan was just beginning to fully take control of the fight - but then because Aljo couldn't continue after that, Yan paid the ultimate price and lost his championship via DQ.
Immediately, we all knew this situation was gonna cause a shitshow, and it has already lived up to that 'shitshow' moniker and more in the past few days. Some accused Sterling of "faking" being hurt in the moment or milking it to take the title (despite him being pretty clearly concussed imo, I mean - who could eat THAT knee and be fine?), and after photos of him proudly holding the championship up afterwards surfaced on social media, some people became furious.
He's getting a lot of, "Oh, you said you wouldn't take the title like that and then all of a sudden you're fine and celebrating with it?!", led by former champ Petr Yan….
….and regardless of whether or not Sterling was milking the pain of that knee in the cage on Saturday night (which, again, I don't believe he was) - I think it's pretty stupid to get mad at him for basically accepting the title that is now officially his.
If your friends and family all fly out to Las Vegas to see you fight for the title, and then you get BLASTED into another dimension by an illegal shot, and they wait for you to come home from the hospital for the next few hours - guess what? They're gonna try to make you feel better when you get home! They're gonna say, "C'mon, the night's not a total loss! You're the champ! Take that title out! Let's toast to you!"
It just sucks that everyone posted their pictures online that night. Shoulda been more low-key. You live and you learn. Aljamain Sterling was basically put in a lose/lose spot where it was impossible to make anyone happy, and now he's snapping back at everyone who said anything about this in the aftermath….
I think Daniel Cormier is right. Sterling's just gotta log off for a bit….
…or at least pivot from trying to convince stubborn-ass MMA fans the rationality behind toasting to the fight afterwards. They'll never get it because they don't want to, and obviously - we now know that's gonna piss everyone off from here on out, so use that as you will. Go full heel if you want. Just don't do this.
We all know the rematch is gonna happen as soon as it possibly can, so for now, I'd just take some time off social media if I were Aljo. Enjoy yourself.
P.S. To those claiming Aljo didn't even get hit with that knee, take it from Uncle Dana….
"Oh it landed!"