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Aljamain Sterling was pressured to fight Sean O’Malley at UFC 292.
The former Bantamweight champion had just defended his title in a competitive five-round scrap with Henry Cejudo in May, and just days later, UFC was pressuring Sterling to accept a bout against O’Malley in August. That’s an unusually quick turnaround at the championship level, but it’s a gamble that Sterling ultimately agreed to take.
The reason behind that decision was at least partially financial. “Suga” has been marketed as an up-and-coming star, a potential Conor McGregor. Yet according to “The Funkmaster,” O’Malley’s popularity didn’t translate to pay-per-view (PPV) buys, which Sterling received a percentage of as champion.
Consequently, he’s left unimpressed by supposed Sean O’Malley’s drawing power.
“I got the pay-per-view numbers, and me and her were going through it, and I’m just like, ‘These are the numbers that this guy was trying to say he’s this big pay-per-view star?’ When I saw the numbers, I literally said to her, ‘If I had any idea this is what the numbers would have been, if I could have predicted that this is what it would have been, my ass would have waited and taken my vacation then.’”
He concluded, “I rolled the dice. I trusted that the bag was going to be this blow-me-away kind of thing, bigger than all the other ones — it wasn’t. With that being said, it is what it is. I’m still happy I made some extra money. I had a really good year. I can’t complain about that, life’s good. I can take care of myself, my family.”
Both athletes have moved on since that bout. Sterling has jumped up to Featherweight and will make his 145-pound debut against Calvin Kattar on April 13 at UFC 300, whereas O’Malley is set to defend his Bantamweight belt on March 9 at UFC 299 opposite his longtime rival, Marlon Vera.
We’ll have to keep an eye on the UFC 299 pay-per-view buy numbers to see if the “Suga” hype is all smoke-and-mirrors.
Paulo Costa and Belal Muhammad are in the Christmas spirit.
How can you be mad at Tai Tuivasa? “Bam Bam” is hilarious.
This is actually useful info for the bettors amongst us. When I predict fights featuring debuting talent, I do take into consideration what local scene they came up through and how stacked with talent it is.
My biggest project of 2023 was answering the question “do Contender Series alumni perform better than regional promotions/non-UFC champions?”
It almost started as a joke to dunk on some random Twitter user who was talking crap to Cage Warriors champions, but it quickly became… pic.twitter.com/emjNyo7yGo
— Al Zullino (@phre) December 24, 2023
Mohammed Mokaev with a decent Dominick Cruz impression!
I am still very uncertain where Tresean Gore’s ceiling stands, so hopefully this fight helps answer that question.
Bryce Mitchell has officially rebounded from the year’s worst knockout.
Islam Makhachev remains unimpressed with the IV conspiracy comments.
Slips, rips, and KO clips
We’re now a couple days off from the actual anniversary, but these are some brutal exchanges all the same.
Personally, I would have tapped way earlier. Solid flexibility on display in defeat!
Old school jiu-jitsu footage!
Early Jiu Jitsu is fascinating to me. It’s culturally similar to other folkstyles that I share except it’s broken through the static and become mainstream. Here is Royler Gracie vs. Ricardo de la Riva on 1985. pic.twitter.com/RXWv73NVg6
— Blaine Henry (@BlaineHenryTFL) December 23, 2023
I saw this online a week or two ago, and I instantly knew that I had found my Christmas Random Land and Midnight Music. Enjoy!
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.