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UFC 259: Longo blasts Sterling’s ‘mentally deficient’ critics, Yan’s ‘execution-style’ knee strike

Coach Ray Longo comments on the controversial end of Aljamain Sterling’s UFC 259 title fight against Petr Yan.

We all bore witness to the unfortunate end of UFC 259’s first title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. Yan’s knee strike to the temple of a downed Sterling led to a premature stoppage to the bout at the 4:29 mark of round four.

Sterling was subsequently awarded the win via disqualification along with the undisputed bantamweight title, much to his displeasure. But more detractors immediately piled on Sterling after the fight, accusing him of hamming it up to get the win.

On Monday, Sterling’s coach Ray Longo sat down with MMA Junkie. First, he went after the critics.

“People that think this guy is faking it, they’re mentally deficient in a lot of areas,” he said. “‘Cause I left him, he was throwing up at the house. And by the time I left, he went to bed, but I guess they cleared him on the CAT scan when he came back from the hospital.

“That was a vicious shot. It was blatant.”

Longo then directed his attention to Yan and the illegal knee strike, which still puzzles him 48 hours later.

“Why that guy woulda did it being the champion,” said Longo. “It’s not even a valid excuse, ‘Do I know the rules or I don’t know the rules.’ There was no hands involved, the guy was just a grounded opponent. Mark Smith said he was grounded, told everybody.

“You have to really talk to Yan and find out what would compel him to do that. It wasn’t the heat of the moment, either. ‘Cause there had to be ten Mississippis while he had his hands on his head. And he decided to launch his head into outer space with his knee.”

“It’s kinda sad. I hope Aljo’s alright. I don’t know why the guy would do that. Like, sometimes, in the heat of the battle, I understand that completely. But this was execution-style.”

If it were up to Longo, Sterling would run it back with Yan “as quick as possible.” “Funkmaster,” however, has another idea in mind.