The upcoming UFC 292 event has quickly turned into a heated confrontation between UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and UFC President Dana White. Sterling expressed his frustration with White on Wednesday for dismissing his concerns about his injuries that could potentially delay his title defense against Sean O’Malley on Aug. 19 in Boston. Sterling, who is less than three weeks out from his recent title defense against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288, made an attempt to communicate with White and pushed back against the way the UFC 292 headliner was booked, reassuring that he will fight despite his potential challenges.
In response to Sterling’s complaints about his health, White implied that he would consider booking an interim title at UFC 292, offering O’Malley the option to face another competitor. The comments made by Sterling regarding his health status were then used by O’Malley and Cejudo to criticize the champ. White reported that Cejudo relentlessly badgered him about stepping in to fight O’Malley for the interim title. The exchange of words have quickly intensified following Sterling’s reply to White, who claimed that he “can’t get out of his own way.”
Sterling hit back with frustration, arguing that he would play the character despite feeling like a pawn in White’s game. He demanded that White treat him with more respect and recognition for his accomplishments, given his track record of always showing up and doing what is asked of him, regardless of his injuries or personal life struggles.
As of now, the UFC 292 main event between Sterling and O’Malley remains in place, despite the ongoing conflict between them. Sterling views this as an opportunity to continue to prove himself and set a new record for the most consecutive bantamweight title defenses. Despite the animosity between Sterling and White, Sterling remains determined to show up and put on a phenomenal performance, to cement his title reign and solidify his status as the top bantamweight fighter in the UFC.