UFC welterweight George Sullivan returns to competition at UFC 208 on February 11, 2017 following an intriguing USADA suspension that forced the 17-5 fighter to sit out for the bulk of 2016. Before heading into battle in Brooklyn, Sullivan spoke with Bloody Elbow about the intricacies of his one-year USADA suspension, the relief of not having to fight at home, and his thoughts on his upcoming opponent Randy Brown.
Returning from suspension:
“It’s so good to be a fighter again. You know, that suspension sucked, just sitting there working. You still train but you don’t train the same those months I had to wait to get my name cleared. When they finally cleared my name, it gave me more of a push to get back in the gym, you know. So, I’m super excited.”
Sullivan details his USADA suspension:
“At first, they thought my blood would test positive, which it did not. So, they kicked me out. Then I said, ‘Well, obviously I didn’t do anything wrong.’ I was pissed off at them and said some things like, ‘It’s your fault; you did this; I’m coming after you guys.’ So, then they said, ‘Okay, we’ll test the supplement.”
“It took 3 months to get the results. They tested the supplement, can’t say what it is... Basically, this company put something in the bottle that wasn’t supposed to be in the bottle because it wasn’t on the ingredients. So, the actual banned substance I was suspended for wasn’t on the ingredients on the bottle.”
“I always disclosed what I took, so I got suspended for not testing the bottle prior because they needed to figure out a way to suspend me. I was suspended; my blood came back clean, my urine came back clean, and I disclosed it. So what did George Sullivan do wrong other than own an illegal bottle? So, they said what they had to do was basically bring it down to the fact that I didn’t test the bottle before I took it and it’s my responsibility to know what’s in that bottle.”
Feeling it in the wallet:
“They’re doing their job; I was just mad at first. At least they’re out there trying to get people, but it cost me so much money. I lost so much money because the fight got cancelled, and then I got my third fight of the year, I probably would have fought in December, was cancelled as well... I got a lot of emails ripping them apart. They’re doing their best to make this sport safe; I get it.”
Being the bad guy in Brooklyn:
“I like being the bad guy. I had some bad luck the last two fights with game planning and pressure with Jersey. I had like 900 people go for me. I’d rather be the bad guy, like Brazil, I was booed and I knocked the f—king guy’s head off, and that’s what I plan on doing again. I just, I like that booing atmosphere, even though I’ll have a lot of people there and I have a lot of New York friends and family. It just feels good to not be in fucking Newark, haha. I just don’t want to fight there; I keep losing there.”
UFC 208 opponent Randy Brown:
“He’s long; he’s lanky. I have the power. I know that for sure. I knock people out unconscious; he hurts people. He’s a great striker; I’m not taking nothing away from him. He hasn’t fought anybody with my experience. I’ve fought bigger names than he has. I think he’s a great fight. I’ve changed a lot of the ways that I fight so I plan on throwing some curve balls at him. He’s got a really long reach. He’s a very technical fighter. He has great chokes. It’s a fun fight. I like his attitude.”
Does Randy Brown’s four fights in 2016 give him an advantage?
“Nah, I’ve been fighting for too long. That’s a crock of shit. I’ve never believed in that... If you think about it, he won his first fight by decision. The second fight he lost; he got beat up pretty good and then he got choked out. The third fight he won in 14 seconds, which is absolutely no ring experience, and then... he looked like he was even losing the fight then he caught the guy with that knee and won. It’s not like he’s been in there battling seasoned veterans and that can be a bad thing. Sometimes you get overworked.”
“Honestly, I see him attacking me and I think once he gets hit by me, that darty, peppy striking isn’t going to work. I’m back with Mickey Red, which is Arturo Gatti’s old boxing coach and sparring partner. So, we’re just biting down and brawling again. I’m back to my grinding ways. There ain’t no more trying to pitter-patter on the outside bulls--t.”
Watch UFC welterweight George Sullivan take on Randy Brown at UFC 208 in Brooklyn, NYC on February 11, 2017. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!