Las Vegas, NV — Sean Strickland had a very Sean Strickland media day ahead of UFC 276.
Never one for political correctness, Strickland (25-3) started with the subject of Sean O’Malley’s face tattoos, detoured around the LGBTQ community, commented on his relationship with Kayla Harrison (who he actually seems to like), and touched on his inability to get sponsors — mainly due to having no filter.
On the O’Malley front? Strickland won’t be getting any face tattoos any time soon. “I don’t need any distinguishing marks if I commit a crime at some point in my life.”
Then there’s Thursday’s press conference, where Strickland is expected to be in attendance. “I think I’m gonna be at the press conference, and I can’t curse, so I need to try to like, tone my sh*t down. Can I say f*ck here? I can say it here, but I can’t say it at the press conference.”
And like that, it was off to the races.
“Here’s the thing: ESPN’s owned by Disney, right? At the end of the day, I don’t wanna get Gina Carano’d,” Strickland exclaimed. “I wanna walk the line, bro. Like where’s my LGBTQ-T-Z-R shirt? Do we have any more letters to add to this f*cking thing? I don’t wanna get banned, I want some sponsors. Nike, give me a f*cking flag, I’ll carry this motherf*cker around, let’s go!” And after a pause, “I say offensive shit, I can’t help it.”
Strickland’s propensity to say whatever is on his mind appears to be keeping the sponsors at bay, even as it’s made him something of an anti-hero among MMA fans.
“I just accepted that I’m not gonna get paid,” he told Cageside Press. Strickland revealed that Marshall Rogan Inu did hit him up for a sponsorship, but he’s not into Crypto. “It’s hard for me to get sponsors with sh*t I don’t believe in.”
Aside from that, “sponsors don’t f*cking come to me. But if anybody knows any sponsors, man, I like money, I’ve only got a few years left in this sport. So if you guys want to give me money, f*cking let’s go.”
That’s a whole lot of ground covered without actually talking about Strickland’s fight at UFC 276, which comes against GLORY champ Alex Pereira. A.k.a. The Man Who Knocked Out Israel Adesanya. Pereira actually has two wins over the UFC’s middleweight champion from their kickboxing days, and there’s a good reason the Brazilian has been positioned on a card built around Adesanya.
Most see Strickland’s fight against Pereira as a title eliminator. A huge opportunity for a fighter riding a six-fight win streak.
“I’m so excited, man. This is the biggest opportunity of my life. I can’t fucking wait,” Strickland said mockingly on Wednesday. “I finally made it, the big show. Look at all these people here, having to f*cking put up with me. I made it! Nah man, it’s just another fucking day. Go in there, fight, make money. It’s cool.”
At the end of the day, the middleweight contender knows exactly why his fight has been placed where it is. And why Pereira has been matched up with himself, rather than a wrestler who would take the obvious path to victory against a kickboxer relatively new to MMA.
“If we learned anything about UFC, rankings mean nothing. At the end of the day, it means nothing. He’s the one that knocked out Izzy. So it’s like, here’s what you can do: you can have him go and eventually fight a wrestler that will take him down and beat him, and then they’ll never get the Izzy shot, or they can be like, you know, ‘hey why don’t we have him fight Sean, Sean doesn’t like to wrestle, maybe if he beats him then we can float him to the top.’ So this is purely just a ploy by the UFC to put him in against somebody that likes to strike, to potentially get him an Izzy shot. So UFC, I applaud you, but I might f*cking wrestle.”
Then again, he might not. “There’s not one GLORY kickboxer in any f*cking weight class that I couldn’t stand and bang with. So don’t f*cking tell me that just because you’re some big f*cking Brazilian and you knocked out Izzy 20 f*cking years ago that f*cking I can’t stand with you. Come on, m*therfucker. Get outta here.”
If this was Demolition Man, Strickland would owe about a thousand credits for profanity— but he’s certainly not wrong about the thought process behind his match-up with Alex Pereira. The UFC looks to be angling for a big money rematch between the two, with the story writing itself — but Strickland, essentially chaos personified, is the exactly the sort of figure to throw a wrench in the works.
Watch the full UFC 276 media day appearance by Sean Strickland above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 2, 2022 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.