Monday, November 28, 2022

Shane Strickland & Coach Jim West Come Face-To-Face Amid Grooming Accusations

The animosity between UFC middleweight Sean Strickland and Jim West, coach, and partner of Aspen Ladd, has resurfaced following an in-person interaction.

Strickland is never out of the headlines for too long, and when he returns, it’s usually through comments and interactions away from fighting. That trend has continued this week, with the polarizing 185lber having an interesting encounter with one of his past social media targets.

Earlier this year, Strickland began a conquest against who he perceived to be “sexual predator” coaches. In a number of tweets, Strickland referred to the relationship between Pat Barry and former two-time strawweight queen Rose Namajunas, as well as MMA Gold head coach Jim West and former UFC bantamweight Aspen Ladd.

West and Ladd’s relationship had previously been given attention owing to the corner interactions between the pair at UFC Vegas 40, where Ladd was beaten by Norma Dumont in the headliner. Many took issue with West’s vocal and aggressive approach, with Miesha Tate even branding it “abuse.”

Months later, West came under scrutiny again, this time from the always uncensored mouth of Strickland. The #7-ranked middleweight suggested that Ladd is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome — feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping by a victim towards their captor — having been ‘groomed’ by West.

Now six months on from those accusations, the situation has reached the surface again owing to a public interaction between Strickland and West, which the former narrated in an Instagram video.

Strickland described being approached by West outside the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. But while “Tarzan” was anticipating a scrap, he said that West was relaxed and instead attempted to explain his relationship with Ladd.

“Guys, the most awkward sh*t just happened to me,” Strickland began. “I’m leaving the PI, this guy walks up to me. He goes, ‘Hello Sean, my name is Jim West.’ I’m thinking, ‘Oh man, me and this dude are about to scrap in front of the PI.’ And I start getting excited. But then, he’s really f*cking cool to me, and I’m like, ‘Oh, well, now this is awkward because I thought we were gonna f*cking fight.’

“So he comes up to me and is like, ‘Well Sean, I heard what you said, and I was a former detective.’ Like that means f*ck all anything, you shady b*astard. ‘I did not know Aspen Ladd until she was 18,'” Strickland continued. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know dude. I’m not gonna get into this, but it’s f*cking questionable and I’m still gonna talk sh*t.'”

But while West had hoped to clear the air with Strickland and clear his name of any wrongdoing, the UFC middleweight wasn’t about to let things end with that conversation.

Having further assessed what he perceives to be the situation, Strickland maintained that, in his mind, the relationship between 45-year-old West and 27-year-old Ladd is the product of “grooming.”

“I’m like, ‘Have a good one, and I walk away.’ But now, since I was reminded of the situation, Jim West, she was training at your gym at 14 or 15 years old, right?” Strickland suggested. “We can say this is true. And at some point, she turned 18 and this girl you had no idea existed, she turned 18 and you’re like, ‘You know what? Now I’m gonna put my penis in her and make her my girlfriend.’

“Now, that sounds like grooming to me. But again, you also had no idea who she was and she just put out really f*cking fast. So, I mean, sounds like grooming. But, who knows?” Strickland concluded.

Jim West Responds To Strickland’s Accusations

West was, however, quick to hit back in the comments section. He looked to correct Strickland’s remarks by insisting that Ladd only began training at his gym after she’d turned 18.

“It was nice to meet you @seanstrickland_mma @strickland_mma_ but your facts are incorrect. Aspen trained at underground mma in Jackson California when she was 14. Lol at least have your facts straight. She didn’t train at mmagold which was Folsom mma until she was 18. From 14 to 18 she trained at underground mma. Again. You can talk shit. That’s your prerogative. There is your facts,” West wrote.

Strickland Doubles Down On Opinion of West After Meeting

Despite West’s attempts to clarify his relationship with Ladd and clear his name of any predatory behavior, his in-person words, as well as his comment on Instagram, evidently fell on deaf ears.

In another post, Strickland shared an image of a Twitter interaction between West and Miesha Tate. Prior to Ladd’s loss to Dumont, she had a bout with Macy Chiasson canceled owing to a botched weight cut.

The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion took issue with not just the weight miss, but also her perception that Ladd had attempted to cheat the scales. But West hit back at Tate, labeling her a “dumb f*ck.”

Having had a less hostile interaction with the MMA Gold coach, Strickland tagged Tate in his post before once again accusing West of grooming.

“@mieshatata I just met @jim_west_gold … I didn’t get called that….. must be because I don’t have a vagine and am over the age of 18 lmao….. The internet is a crazy place…”

What do you make of Sean Strickland’s remarks?

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