MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz believes UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman did more than enough to deserve a 2022 ESPY Award.
UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira earned the 2022 ESPY for ‘MMA Fighter of the Year’ after wins over Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler in 2021. He beat out Usman, Kayla Harrison, and Alexander Volkanovski for the honor.
Despite topping the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings, Usman fell short of earning his first career ESPY award. His 2021 featured finishes over Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal and a rematch victory over Colby Covington last November.
Abdelaziz feels Usman not only deserved the award but that he was robbed in favor of who he feels was a less-impressive Oliveira.
Ali Abdelaziz Calls Kamaru Usman Not Earning 2022 ESPY Award “Criminal”
During a recent interview with The Schmo, Abdelaziz explained why he feels Usman had the ‘MMA Fighter of the Year’ award stolen from him.
“I think this ESPY award was rigged,” Usman’s manager Abdelaziz said. “I think Kamaru Usman won, and I think they rigged it. I think the man in 2021, he fought Gilbert, he fought Masvidal and made it look easy. He played with him. He fought Colby again, made it look easy again. You tell me one time that Kamaru wasn’t dangerous.
“How did Kamaru Usman not win this ESPY over a guy like Charles Oliveira who did drop every fight? You have to show dominance, who is the best fighter…and if we talk about 2021, best fighter of the year, because 2022 isn’t finished, it’s criminal. The ESPYs suck. Who voted sucks. They rigged it, for sure they stole it from him.”
Usman will get an opportunity to prove that ESPN made a mistake in naming Oliveira as ‘MMA Fighter of the Year’ when he faces Leon Edwards at UFC 278. This is his first fight since defeating Covington, as he’s been recovering from hand surgery.
Usman has yet to publicly comment on Oliveira’s win but may be fighting with a chip on his shoulder against Edwards next month.
Did you think Kamaru Usman deserved the 2022 ESPY for Fighter of the Year?