UFC Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (21-3-0 13-3-0 UFC) silenced his critics by earning a hard-fought split-decision victory against Petr Yan at UFC 273 this Saturday. Sterling did manage to prove his critics wrong this time by beating Yan. However, the mixed martial arts community has been divided on the decision of two judges who awarded Sterling a 10-9 score in the first round.
Sterling Speaks Out
According to retired longtime referee and current Bellator commentator, John McCarthy, the 1st round, which was the deciding round of the fight, was scored incorrectly. McCarthy spoke about Sterling’s fight on his podcast “Weighing In”, saying: “There is no way in the world you’re gonna tell me that Aljo (Sterling) won that first round, but I will say, I thought he fought a great fight.”
In response to the backlash, Sterling has embarked on a social media campaign aiming to distance himself from critics, especially now that there is no doubt on his title reign.
Aljamain replied to John’s comments on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, saying: “There is absolutely no way you could score that round like ‘Big’ John McCarthy. Dude, go get a clue. I don’t know how this guy was ever the blueprint standard of the MMA. Cause that guy sucks, his opinion stinks and it sucks. He just says sh*t. And I think he just wants people to think that he knows what he’s talking about.”
Clearly frustrated, he continued to talk about ‘Big John’, saying: “Clearly, this guy is so great – so what has he ever accomplished? Other than trying to judge people and being completely wrong about the scoring criteria of the fight.”
If you want to have an opinion John, it’s ok, but it doesn’t mean you’re correct because you’re not going by the criteria of how you score a fight. So please be quiet and let the big boys do what they do at a high level. Relax there, buddy.”
The title bout did bring a lot of controversy regarding the judges’ decision, even with Dana White joining in on the post-fight press conference, saying that Yan should have been awarded the decision and that the judges blew it away.
Many in the MMA community, including Chael Sonnen and Rizin FF champion and former Bellator titleholder Kyoji Horiguchi, saw the fight going Sterling’s way, but it was a razor-close fight. A sizeable chunk of fans in Jacksonville, however, thought Yan won. A fight that was supposed to settle the score between two bitter rivals became one of the most polarizing decisions of the year.
Who do you think won the fight between Sterling and Yan? Does a rematch make sense? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images