Aljamain Sterling’s disqualification victory over Petr Yan at UFC 259 has brought out the worst in the MMA world.
The bantamweight title fight between Yan and Sterling ended in an unprecedented manner. Late in the fourth round, the Russian rocked his grounded opponent with an illegal knee, prompting referee Mark Smith to immediately halt the action and urge the cageside doctor to examine ‘Funk Master’, who was in visible discomfort.
The fight was stopped after a prolonged discussion between the referee and the doctor, and Sterling was declared the winner. Since then, there has been an ongoing debate online as to whether or not the 31 year old was ‘faking it’ by appearing more hurt than he actually was. Tweeting the following day, the newly-crowned champ said that he was surprised at the negative remarks coming from some of his fellow fighters.
Sterling isn’t the only one who is having to deal with the crude comments, however. His coach Ray Longo has also received messages telling him that he’s “a piece of s***”. Speaking to MMA Junkie, the Serra-Longo Fight Team head coach expressed his displeasure over the hate mail.
“Like, what the f***? They don’t stop,” Longo said. “Does that make you feel better? I don’t even know. This stuff is really crazy. I’ve never once got on social media and said anything negative. I don’t know why. I don’t know. There must be a lot of miserable people out there. I don’t even want to think about it.”
Yan’s To Blame
Longo doesn’t understand why he and Sterling are the ones receiving criticism, when it was his pupil who was on the receiving end of a blatant foul, and stated that if anyone’s to blame for the outcome, it’s Yan.
“Even though Aljo won the belt, it’s almost like it cursed him,” Longo noted. “Guys, the amount of hate that I’m getting is insane. Like, I don’t make the f***ing rules. What are you yelling at me for? This is insanity. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve never experienced this ever. This is pure hatred. For what? I have no clue. It’s a f***ing sport and there are rules.
“If anything, I’d really love to hear from Yan what would possess him. You were winning the fight at that point. Why would you do that? It wasn’t in the heat of the battle. It’s just nuts, man. I’ll just tell you: This social media s*** is out of control.”
Sterling Genuinely Hurt
Sterling has been accused of milking the situation by fans and fighters alike, including TJ Dillashaw, Cody Garbrandt, and Darren Till, but Longo reveals that his fighter was still feeling sick hours after his UFC 259 bout.
“People that think this kid was faking it, they’re mentally deficient in a lot of areas because when I left him he was throwing up at the house,” Longo revealed. “By the time I left, he [had gone] to bed. I guess they cleared him on the CT scan. He’s back from the hospital. That was a vicious shot. It was blatant. Why that guy would’ve [done] it, being the champion, it’s not even a valid excuse: Do I know the rules or do I not know the rules?”
Despite their crude nature, Longo isn’t paying much attention to the hateful comments and hopes that Sterling also has thick skin.
“Listen, I hope [Sterling] can compartmentalise this,” Longo said. “The s*** he’s getting thrown at him, if he’s a sensitive cat, he’s f***ing in trouble. I’m telling you the s*** I got. I’ll never respond to anything. And I mean this from the bottom of my heart: I couldn’t care less what anybody says. It’s almost comical, to me, at this point. I think the first time I woke up, I just rolled over and looked at my phone: ‘You’re a piece of s***.’”
What are your thoughts on Ray Longo’s comments on the controversy surrounding the UFC 259 bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan?