Sean Strickland, Dricus Du Plessis Get Into It at UFC 296, Champ Ejected

Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis, UFC 2024
Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis, UFC 2024 Season Press Conference Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to place middleweight champ Sean Strickland and challenger Dricus Du Plessis so close to each other in the stands at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

Both men were in the house for UFC 296, and shortly after the Paddy Pimblett-Tony Ferguson fight, the pair were shown on screen. First challenger, then champ was featured, but as Strickland played to the camera, Du Plessis could be seen alternately clapping, and making a “bring it on” gesture behind him.

Though cameras cut away, even the UFC 296 broadcast noted what happened next: the pair, not surprisingly, went at it, and had to be separated in the crowd. Per the UFC officials, Strickland was later removed.

The scene in the crowd can only be described as chaotic, with an irate Du Plessis shown being restrained.


Strickland and Du Plessis got into something of a nasty back-and-forth at Friday’s UFC 2024 Season Press Conference. After Sean O’Malley had touched on the subject earlier in the night, Du Plessis dragged up the subject of Strickland suffering abuse at the hands of his father. In essence, he suggested he’d beat Sean Strickland worse than his father ever had.

“Bro why are you so angry? You think your dad beat the sh*t out of you? Your dad doesn’t have sh*t on me,” exclaimed Du Plessis. “I’m going to show you what it’s like to beat you. Every childhood memory you have is going to come back when I’m in there with you. Every single one. The one where you lie in bed at night when your dad comes in and he beats the sh*t out of you.”

After a fairly amicable start to the build-up to their UFC 297 main event, it’s clear things between Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis are now extremely personal. Their actual fight is scheduled for January 20, 2024 in Toronto.

Update, 11:35PM ET: UFC lightweight Jared Gordon gave his take on the altercation, stating that Strickland “jumped over the seats right in front of us” to get at Du Plessis.