The #1 trending topic after UFC 259 has been the controversial disqualification in the bantamweight championship bout between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. Never before in the history of the company has a title changed hands via disqualification, and the ongoing discussion about the incident has certainly done the magnitude of the story justice.
The only problem, according to Miesha Tate, is that most of the discussion is focused on the wrong person. Tate believes that instead of Aljamain Sterling being the center of attention and criticism, the public gaze should be directed squarely at the rulebreaker who caused the DQ, Petr Yan.
“Do I think that Petr Yan meant to do that, no, I don’t. I don’t think that he meant to deliver an illegal knee,” Tate began on Sirius XM’s MMA Tonight. “But I think he should know the difference. I think it’s embarrassing to be Petr Yan and not be able to distinguish. When you are a UFC world champion, you are the best of the best. You have to be accountable in those situations. You can’t be that lost in the moment. You cannot afford to be. You are a professional athlete.
“So I know everyone wants to sit here and dissect Aljamain Sterling, but really, I think we should be focused on Petr Yan. Like, what was he thinking? Why did he even have to ask his corner?”
Tate was particularly puzzled by the fight-ending sequence and what could have possibly been going through Yan’s mind before throwing the knee.
“You’ve been holding the man there for seconds, which is a long time in a fight: five, six seconds with both hands on his head. You’re telling me that you are not able to distinguish in a paused moment in the fight whether that was a legal strike or not?” Tate asked in bewilderment.
Aljamain Sterling Questions If Petr Yan Is A Dirty Fighter
Aljamain Sterling, of course, has also been making the rounds talking about this controversy ad nauseum. Like Tate, Sterling is at a loss for words for how a UFC champion could commit such a grievous era and cannot help wondering if it stems from being a dirty fighter in general.
“Sometimes I wonder if he really is a dirty fighter or not, though. I do question that,” Sterling said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. “That is the one thing. Because you’re trying to tell me you got to a championship level, (but) you don’t know the rules? You can’t look to see if an opponent is down or not?
“That does not need a translation from your corner. That’s something as common sense as, ‘Hey, this guy is still down.’ Or, ‘Hey, let me back up, and I can take a better look, reset the position, or try to advance to the back of me or something like that.’ It’s not a hard thing to figure out. So the fact that he did that is just negligence.”
It has been speculated that Yan threw the knee at the behest of his corner, but even if this is true, as far as Tate and Sterling are concerned, that does not excuse, justify, or, most of all, explain how a UFC champion could commit such a historic blunder. And more importantly, they do not understand how it is Aljamain Sterling left holding the bag for Yan’s poor decision.
Do you share Aljamain Sterling and Miesha Tate’s reaction to Petr Yan’s illegal knee at UFC 259?