Sean O’Malley claims UFC 280 opponent Petr Yan was forced into accepting their fight in Abu Dhabi as punishment for turning down Marlon Vera.
Yan has given the impression that he wanted the fight but ‘Suga’ claims ‘No Mercy’ was ‘bullied’ into accepting it after allegedly refusing to fight ‘Chito’ when offered the matchup earlier this year.
“He was the only guy after that Pedro Munhoz fight (when) I went back to the UFC and said, ‘Hey, I want to book a fight,’” O’Malley told reporters ahead of UFC 280 (h/t BJPenn.com). “Obviously that wasn’t a satisfying victory. Petr was literally the only guy in the top 10 without a fight.
“He turned down Chito. He turned down Chito, so I don’t think he really had an option. I think the UFC probably went to him and said, ‘Hey, you can’t just keep turning these guys down. You have to fight the ‘Suga Show.’
“I know he was saying that he picked that fight, but I don’t believe that. I think he got bullied into it.”
Sean O'Malley thinks Petr Yan was "bullied" into fighting him by the UFC brass.— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) October 20, 2022
"I know he was saying he picked that fight – I don't believe that."#UFC280 | Full video: https://t.co/F0rXxOoM4A pic.twitter.com/cI9jlW5EFC
O’Malley is no doubt looking to get a rise from Yan after the former UFC bantamweight champion branded him ‘a UFC project and Conor McGregor wannabe’ in an interview with Barstool Sports earlier this week.
Yan’s comments come after O’Malley stated that a win on Saturday would bring him closer to Conor McGregor-level superstardom and launch him into the upper echelon of the talent-stacked bantamweight division.
UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachev will feature Yan vs. O’Malley on the main card. The blockbuster event is scheduled to take place this Saturday at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.