Aljamain Sterling has expressed a willingness to run it back with Petr Yan after the controversial ending to their first bantamweight title bout at UFC 259, but he doesn’t seem too happy about it. Yan was disqualified after landing an illegal knee to Sterling at UFC 259, thus costing him the bantamweight title.
The new champion has been the subject to doubt and criticism regarding the degree to which he was really impacted by the knee, perhaps even subject to more public ire than Yan himself who committed the foul. Public perception aside, Sterling believes that Yan is getting let off the hook by those with the actual authority to hand out consequences for breaking the rules (transcription by Cole Shelton).
“Any other sport when you do something intentionally illegal you get suspended, you get fined, you get ejected from the game. This guy is getting rewarded with a rematch, which I get is a big fight,” Sterling said at a UFC 260 media scrum. “But, it is like, we can just break the rules and nothing is ever going to happen to us. I can just jump the Octagon and nothing is going to happen, I can go and fight another corner or push him after the bell and nothing is ever going to happen. It’s like, I feel like when you have rules for a reason and you have to enforce them or otherwise let’s just run it up.”
It is unclear what specifically Sterling would like to see happen as a consequence for Yan’s UFC 259 foul. Some would argue that the very fact that he lost the bantamweight championship and all the financial and legacy perks that come with it is fitting punishment enough. That said, there is no question that Yan committed a historically bad blunder in his first title defense, so it’s not too difficult to understand why Sterling is having no mercy on his rival.
Do you believe Petr Yan is being “rewarded” for breaking the rules by being granted a rematch?