Certainly, let’s rephrase and expand on the text:
Aljamain Sterling: Dana White’s Delight in Sean O’Malley’s Victory
Picture this: Aljamain Sterling, fresh from a disappointing loss to Sean O’Malley at UFC 292, found solace in a slice of pizza backstage. The former UFC bantamweight champion was seeking comfort in the embrace of friends, family, and the all-too-familiar carbohydrates when an unexpected encounter unfolded. Dana White, the head honcho of the UFC, approached Sterling, inquiring about his well-being.
Sterling’s battle in the Octagon had just culminated in defeat, with O’Malley emerging victorious. White’s sudden appearance caught Sterling off guard, and as he reflected on that moment on The MMA Hour, he couldn’t help but wonder what was going through the UFC CEO’s mind.
“It was kind of like, I know he’s probably looking at me probably, just…I don’t know what he was thinking,” Sterling recounted. “I know he was definitely happy. How could he not be? I mean, the golden goose [O’Malley] won in a fight matchup that he legitimately… I hate saying that because then it sounds like I’m discrediting the guy, but this is the way they say that eight or nine out of 10 times thing, right?”
Sterling had chosen to engage in a striking battle with O’Malley, a decision fueled by a desire to please the fans and appease his promoters. However, this choice had its consequences, diminishing his leverage for future career moves.
Even before the fight, Sterling felt he wasn’t exactly in the UFC’s good graces. The title bout was announced hastily, merely a day after he expressed the need for time to recover following a title defense against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288.
“The one thing with the fight announcement, the only thing I said was, ‘Can I at least get a week to get my exams and my X-rays to kind of just see how I’m feeling?’ Like when [Charles] Oliveira fought, he legitimately said that, and I wasn’t sure if he was saying that to kind of mess with the media or mess with me, where he’s like, ‘Maybe [Charles] Oliveira has plans for a vacation. I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him yet.'”
Sterling continued, expressing his frustration, “I was like, ‘Why can’t you do that for me? Why could you not have done that for me?’ Instead, you single-handedly turned the fans on me for whatever reason. I don’t get it. Maybe that’s the plan, to make the fans hate me. Maybe it’s more buys if they hate me.”
What remains perplexing for Sterling is why Dana White continues to take both direct and indirect jabs at him. In a recent interview, the UFC CEO suggested that Sterling’s public decisions had diminished his popularity, despite acknowledging Sterling as a good person in private.
Sterling responded, “If there’s anything I’ve said about Dana, like he said, he’s cool in person. I’m gonna take his words and use it with him. He’s cool in person. But then, I don’t know, it’s like as soon as he gets the mic to say anything about me, I never once heard the guy say anything positive about me.”
He continued to voice his concerns, “And that’s the only thing that, if I’m a disgruntled employee, that’s the only thing that’s kind of a bummer man, because I’ve literally bent over backward and done everything him and [UFC executive] Hunter [Campbell] have ever asked me to do. I show up, I get in great shape, I fight the best guys in the world. I don’t say ‘No, let me go fight No. 6. No, let me go fight No. 10.’ I fight the next guy in line that they want me to fight, that they think is the killer that’s gonna get the fans excited. And I do it.”
Despite his positive attitude and commitment, Sterling’s last fight decision to face O’Malley on short notice didn’t go as planned. He acknowledges his share of responsibility in that regard but believes a different outcome might have emerged with more preparation time. Nevertheless, the substantial payout from the O’Malley fight helped soothe the sting of defeat.
“Thankfully, I’ve come out on top,” Sterling reflected. “I just don’t understand why I can’t get a little bit of a little bump like, ‘Yo, hey Dana, what do you think about Sterling?’ [White says], ‘Hey, man, he’s great. He’s awesome. Just like Conor, just like anybody else, he steps up when we want him to.’ It’s not hard to say something like that. It’s not hard at all.”
He wrapped up his thoughts by emphasizing his commitment to the sport and entertainment, stating, “And my disgruntled-ness comes with, he has such a cult following that once he says something, the parrots out there, they just hear it, and they run with it, even though there’s no basis on anything.”
Sterling’s future in the UFC remains uncertain after losing his championship. He now faces the choice of pursuing a rematch with O’Malley or exploring other options within the bantamweight division. Regardless of the path he chooses, one thing remains clear: Aljamain Sterling is determined to continue giving his all to the sport he loves, despite the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC Journey
Q: Why did Aljamain Sterling choose to strike with Sean O’Malley?
A: Aljamain Sterling opted to engage in striking with Sean O’Malley to entertain the fans and please his promoters. However, this decision came with consequences and ultimately led to his defeat.
Q: What was Aljamain Sterling’s frustration regarding the UFC’s handling of his fight announcement?
A: Sterling expressed frustration that the announcement of his title bout against Sean O’Malley was made hastily, giving him little time to recover after a previous fight. He compared it to another fighter, Charles Oliveira, who had been granted more time before his next match.
Q: Why does Aljamain Sterling feel Dana White takes jabs at him in the media?
A: Aljamain Sterling finds it perplexing that Dana White continues to make both direct and indirect comments about him in the media. Despite being on good terms with White in person, Sterling feels that White’s public statements often lack positivity and may influence public opinion.
Q: What options does Aljamain Sterling have in the UFC after losing his championship?
A: After losing his UFC championship, Aljamain Sterling faces several options. He can pursue a rematch with Sean O’Malley, compete against other bantamweight contenders, or consider moving up to the featherweight division. However, a fight with his training partner, Merab Dvalishvili, remains unlikely despite comments from Dana White.
Q: How did Aljamain Sterling reflect on his career and commitment to the sport?
A: Despite the challenges and uncertainties in his career, Aljamain Sterling remains committed to the sport. He has consistently stepped up to face tough opponents, entertained fans, and promoted his fights, even if it meant taking on short-notice challenges.