Ahead of UFC 273, which went down on April 9 in Jacksonville, Florida, Sterling was widely criticized and doubted. Having won the title via disqualification over a year prior, and subsequently opting for surgery that left him on the sidelines, many attempted to delegitimize his reign.
But while his championship credentials were dismissed and his chances of defeating then-interim titleholder Petr Yan brushed aside, “Funk Master” had the last laugh when Bruce Buffer read out “and still” after the UFC 273 co-main event.
While Sterling has appeared to relish his ‘I told you so’ tour on social media and in interviews across the month that has followed, it hasn’t been without its frustrations.
Sterling: Fans Talked Sh*t & Then Wanted Pictures
As well as taking issue with the comments of UFC President Dana White and the likes of former referee John McCarthy, who initially suggested that Yan was the rightful winner at UFC 273, Sterling was also less-than-impressed with certain fans.
During an episode of his YouTube podcast, Sterling discussed the possibility of organizing some fan meet-ups down the line. After confirming he’d look to host some soon, the champion explained why it’s not something that he immediately looked to put together.
According to Sterling, a number of fans who slammed him online began asking him for pictures in person, which he admitted left him “salty.”
“I wanna do some fan meet-ups,” said Sterling. “Again, like I said, I was having a come-down, and I was kinda salty about how everything went and how everyone was treating me, talking sh*t behind their keyboards, no pictures to the face, and that type of thing, and even the ones that had pictures to their accounts, that now are coming up to me, asking me for pictures at the hotel at 2:45 in the morning. I’m just like, not about that.
“But again, they’re fans, I’m over it. I’m not a sensitive guy, but when I go on my trip, my vacations, I will try to schedule some fan meet-ups, where I would just pop in somewhere and guys can come down… just to show some love,” confirmed Sterling. “I’m always gonna be that type of guy, I’m never gonna change. I’m always gonna be me. Hate me or love me, that’s up to you.”
Nevertheless, having battled trolls and hate for the first 13 months of his reign, it’s safe to say that not much can faze the bantamweight king in that regard anymore. Should his second defense come against the formerly suspended TJ Dillashaw, perhaps he’ll even have the fans on side next time out.
What do you make of those fans who criticized Aljamain Sterling prior to UFC 273, but want pictures when they see him in person?