Sometimes the secret to getting away with things is all about just having the guts to do them. Break the rules just right, and nobody seems to mind.
That’s the note Sean O’Malley took when Nate Diaz pulled out a joint at UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Medeiros, back in February. The younger Diaz got a few seconds of air time during the UFC’s FS1 broadcast and used the moment to ready a blunt and get out his lighter. So, when noted marijuana aficionado O’Malley got the chance for his own cage-side UFC seats, he knew just what to do.
When UFC staff told him he was about to be on camera, he got out a joint of his own and mimed lighting it. O’Malley described the set-up in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“Eventually they come up to us and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to shoot you guys here in a little bit, we’ll let you know’. I was like, ‘this is perfect timing.’”
“I kept smiling at [UFC official] Heidi [Dean] who had just told us that we’re going to get on camera because I knew that she wasn’t going to be happy with me, but she wasn’t too mad. She was the one who said, ‘Okay, you guys are going to be on camera in 3,2,1,’ and I kept smiling at her but she didn’t know why, but I think she did then,” he explained.
And while he didn’t let the UFC in on his plan ahead of time, ‘Sugar’ Sean did make sure to inform his MMA Lab teammate, Mackenzie Dern, who was seated next to him. “I told her before; I warned her. Well, I told her right before and she said, ‘Okay’. Mackenzie is cool.”
O’Malley was last seen in competition taking a unanimous decision victory over Andre Soukhamthath at UFC 222 back in March. The win took his record to an unbeaten 10-0, but he picked up a severe ankle injury, including ligament damage, in the process. No date for his return to action has been set.