Sterling most recently defeated former bantamweight champion, Petr Yan in a highly anticipated rematch at UFC 273. After five rounds of action, Sterling earned the win on the scorecards via a split decision.
Sterling continues to deal with his fair share of hate from UFC fans despite his recent performance. But before the biggest fight of his career, he was allegedly the victim of various personal attacks with streaks of racism on social media from trolls.
During a recent interview with SportsKeeda, Yanez gave his thoughts on the amount of hate that Sterling gets online that can at times cross the line.
“But man, just to like see the amount of hate that guy had got, like people were calling him clown, people were being super, super racist, man,” Yanez said. “I was tagged in one of his posts and like, just off the offset me looking through his comments like, ‘Man, you know what? I want to see how bad [it] gets.’
“Like, man, people were getting super racist, so like to see him come out on top, just with all the adversity, all the people…it was disturbing, like, it was really, really disturbing to see.”
Yanez Happy To See Sterling Victorious At UFC 273
After addressing some of the comments left by trolls on Sterling’s social media, Yanez went on to praise the bantamweight champion for being able to overcome all the hate and get his arm raised in victory at UFC 273.
“And just to see him pull that off, to me, was just like, wow like I’m so happy that he got out there and he did it,” Yanez continued. “And he won the fight, and like, just to see him and just to see all the hard work that he put in.”
Sterling has been in race-related controversies dating back to 2017 when former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt referred to him as “boy” during a Twitter back-and-forth. Henry Cejudo was also criticized in 2020 for a social media post that featured a callout of Sterling with what some argued to have racist connotations.
As for his relationship with fans, Sterling has been on the receiving end of constant attacks ever since his controversial UFC 259 title victory. And according to Yanez, some of those attacks were centered around race.
Yanez could be on a collision course with Sterling and the rest of the bantamweight title picture with a few more victories. Nevertheless, despite his competitive nature, he’s not afraid to give the 135lb champion credit when he feels it’s due.