Sean Strickland last competed against Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 33 in July. After the contest, the decision victory expanded the winning streak of “Tarzan” to five. En route to victory, Strickland pushed a pace Hall struggled to keep up with. Following the triumph on the judge’s scorecards, Strickland looked to be getting his big break when the company was aiming for him to face a former champion.
The rising 185-pound fighter’s eccentric personality has consistently made headlines. Before Luke Rockhold and Strickland were scheduled to appear in the Octagon, they exchanged expletive-filled rants. In addition, the streaking middleweight went so far as to threaten Rockhold’s safety, which has raised eyebrows to a certain extent.
While Strickland was expected to face former UFC champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 268, the American Kickboxing Academy member pulled out of the contest due to a back injury. Now sitting at #7 in the official rankings, Strickland’s menacing teenage years are behind him.
Sean Strickland Opens Up About Troubled Childhood
Speaking on a recent episode of Ariel Helwani‘s The MMA Hour, Sean Strickland shed some light on a few of his childhood traumas. The middleweight details growing pains that amounted to being kicked out of school for hate crimes.
“I was really fucking angry,” Strickland said in regard to his abusive childhood. “I was so angry I actually went through this weird neo-Nazi, white supremacist phase when I was younger and I got kicked out of school for hate crimes, like all this crazy shit. I was angry and I had a lot of fucked-up influences in my life that it felt so good to fucking hate something. I would walk down the street with like a knife or a rock hoping to kill somebody. And when I started training I’m like man, you’re just fucking angry.”
The outspoken Strickland admits that he was in a very dark place during his grade school years. While “Tarzan” acknowledges that influences played a role in his behavior, the 24-3 professional finds himself taken aback by his former character.
“My grandfather was like this big piece of shit,” Strickland continued. “When you’re a kid you don’t see that, you hero worship. He kinda just filled your head with crazy shit. You’re in seventh grade spouting off about Nazis, you don’t even know what the fuck that means. But you hear it from someone you look up to and that identity consumed me. Drawing swastikas walking to school, like I didn’t know what the fuck that was. Later my grandfather died and I kinda resented him for it. When you’re racist, you don’t get ahead in life. You’re fucked, man. There’s no privilege from being racist, so I resented him for a majority of my life.”
Growing up in California, in an abusive household, the 185-pound athlete reveals ignorance played a role in his childhood trauma. With a notable impact from his grandfather, the rising UFC star divulged that he harbored resentment toward his deceased family member. Despite being shaped by his grandfather’s Neo-Nazi views at an early age, Strickland is now separated from that dark chapter of his childhood.
What do you make of Sean Strickland’s turbulent upbringing?