Go ahead and visit Aljamain Sterling’s Twitter profile and click on any tweet. You’ll find at least two responses from random people calling him different variations of an “actor” or a “fake” champion. All of it still stems from his controversial DQ win over Petr Yan at UFC 259 in March.
Oh you going to improv class today?— Dakota K Knight (@BearKat421urL8) September 2, 2021
Work on all fours to the ground for the DQ win pic.twitter.com/eWA6AWxG4C— Lucas Stafford Jr (@casanovaent) September 2, 2021
The word on the streets is that your acting is getting better.— Just another Tony (@TonySno25556031) September 3, 2021
You faked a knock out an you ran with the belt like a coward. Just admit it at least. Just admit it you lying actor.— Bad Dope (@BadDope2901) September 3, 2021
While he’s been heavily critical of Yan, the “Funkmaster” was fairly subdued in his previous statements about his anticlimactic victory. But after being trolled non-stop for the last six months, he is now firing back.
In his Monday appearance on The MMA Hour, Sterling explained how he went from being diplomatic to eventually giving his critics the proverbial middle finger.
To see the picture and think, like, that’s what I was doing, like, parading around with the belt, which is not what I was doing. I only started doing that when people started giving me shit for my friends and family telling me to take a picture with them. And because they posted it — I never posted it — I became the bad guy.
And that point, I was, like, ‘So I’m gonna keep explaining myself for people to keep ignoring what I’m saying?’ So I was, like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna take pictures of the belt. Here you go. I am the champion.’ Because guess what? I am the champ!
People were hating on me for walking around with the belt that I never walked around with. I’m confused. I left the belt in the cage and it showed up at my house, and I’m being trolled? You know what, let’s flip the script and get people riled up. Let’s fan the flame a little bit.
If this is what people are gonna give me shit for, I might as well have fun with it, instead of, ‘No, I’m sorry guys, it wasn’t…’ Screw you guys! Go f—k yourselves! That’s how I felt.
Fighters will handle illegal shots differently. There are few that will take it in stride and soldier on — even if it may not be the smartest thing to do — while others will be all about enforcing the rules. Sterling is more about the latter, and he further explains why.
If you have a competition and you abide by the rules — in the playoffs, the NFL, there’s overtime, and you commit a foul, an illegal move, you get penalized. Whether it’s for the belt… And people want to say you shouldn’t be able to win a belt, then you shouldn’t be able to win a fight. Because a fight is still a fight, whether it’s a championship setting or it’s not.
I just needed to make it make sense, and then I could be, like, ‘OK, I understand where you’re coming from.’ So whether or not there was a title on the line, the guy gets DQd. And I think it’s the smart and right thing to do because guys are getting away with all these fouls.
I was actually surprised that ref (Chris Tognoni) took a point from Sam Alvey’s opponent (Wellington Turman) and took another point when he actually poked him in the eye again. I was, like, ‘Thank God!’ because we’re finally seeing people get penalized for their actions, stuff that they changed the outcome of the fight. So you should get freebies every single fight? That makes no sense.
Sterling will get a chance to silence his detractors and legitimize his much-questioned championship win in his rematch against Petr Yan at UFC 267 on October 30th.