White on Sterling: ‘If you’re not healthy, don’t take the fight’
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Dana White continues to be baffled by accusations that he’s treating UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling poorly.
Sterling just fought at UFC 288 on May 6th, and immediately after the win the UFC started pushing for him to fight Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 on August 19th in Boston. That three and a half months … not a lot of time for a champion to rest and reset, especially when he’s banged up from fighting three times in 13 months.
Sterling has suggested September would work better for him. He’s shared a laundry list of injuries he’d like time to heal. And now he’s upset that White is bashing him in the press. But somewhere along the line, “Funkmaster” apparently told Dana White he’d fight in Boston, and White is holding him to his word.
In the latest back-and-forth between the promoter and his champion, White dismissed accusations that he’s treating Aljamain Sterling poorly throughout their interactions surrounding the Boston fight.
“I’m not the one that went out and said, ‘If my body holds up,’ when I’m promoting a fight,” White told FanSided. “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?”
White once again made it clear that Henry Cejudo is ready to jump into the August gig and fight Sean O’Malley for the interim bantamweight belt.
“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 this other stuff.’”
“‘Just give me the fight, we’ll fight for the interim, blah, blah, blah, blah blah.’ Then I walk into the press conference and one of the first questions that asked to me is, ‘Is Aljamain still fighting?’ How am I not giving him credit? Ridiculous.”
What’s ridiculous is this endless sniping through the media. Sterling is right: White shouldn’t be pulling a heavy on him in the press to try and pressure him into accepting the August date. But White has a point, too: if Sterling has said he’d fight at Boston, then he shouldn’t be suggesting he won’t. If he can’t, then let the UFC know.