‘How am I not giving him credit?’
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Dana White doesn’t agree with Aljamain Sterling’s recent comments.
UFC bantamweight champion Sterling took umbrage when White said he can’t get out of his own way after Sterling said he may need time to heal up before his UFC 292 headliner with Sean O’Malley can happen Aug. 19.
The UFC president said he didn’t like the way Sterling (23-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) reacted once the promotion announced his next title defense.
“I’m not the one that went out and said ‘If my body holds up’ when I’m promoting a fight,” White told FanSided MMA. “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. 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 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.”
Sterling is fresh off a title defense against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288, and would be making a three-month turnaround to face O’Malley (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC). The champion, who defended his bantamweight title for a divisional record third time, was particularly bothered by the insinuation that he doesn’t want to fight.
“Every single time they’ve asked me to fight, I’ve saddled up, put my nuts on the table, and showed up every single time. And I won,” Sterling said on his “The Weekly Scraps” podcast. “It’s just like, at what point do I get credit from the UFC and Uncle Dana? Dana is super nice behind closed doors, but then he tells me I can’t get out of my own way. I’m like, ‘What does that even mean?’ Just clarify what that means.”
But White dismissed any notion of not giving Sterling credit.
“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,’” White said. “I’m like, ‘Why? Is Aljo out?’
“He’s like, ‘Yeah, he’s already making excuses, saying “if his body holds up” and all this other stuff. Just give me the fight. We’ll fight for the interim,’ blah, blah, blah. Then I walk into the press conference and one of the first questions that’s asked to me is, ‘Is Aljamain still fighting?’ How am I not giving him credit? Ridiculous.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 292.