Aljamain Sterling recently revealed that he has still not been cleared to compete in his home state of New York. What does that mean for his UFC 288 main event showdown with Henry Cejudo? Absolutely nothing.

Aljamain Sterling’s bantamweight title fight with ‘Triple C’ will emanate from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, a hop, skip, and a jump away from NYC. Before stepping inside the Octagon for his third defense of the 135-pound crown, the ‘Funk Master’ appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. While discussing his return to the Garden State, Sterling revealed that he has still not been cleared for competition in New York.

“So, when I made my UFC debut, February 22, 2014—I’m a vet, man. UFC 170, the Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann card, I believe… I had to get CAT scanned. First time I’m ever getting a CAT scan, and they found two spots in my brain. It was like a millimeter or something like that,” Aljamain Sterling recalled.  

“But it looked like there was trauma, they weren’t sure what it was. I forget the exact term—aneurysm or angioma, something like that. So, in order for me to be cleared, I would have to, like, go take it out of my head. So, I wasn’t sure if I had to get, like, drilled in my head to pull these things out or whatever.”

Undergoing routine monitoring, Aljamain Sterling found that the spots did not appear to be causing him any harm or put him in any type of danger while competing. As a result, every other athletic commission around the country has allowed him to compete, but the New York State Athletic Commission is yet to clear him.

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“They monitored it, they allowed me to fight in Nevada. And they just had me monitored every six months, every year. And then, for a couple of years after, they realized the change, nothing is happening with that. They were, like, ‘OK, you’re safe. You’re not bleeding out, you’re not gonna die in the cage (knock on wood).’

“So things were good, and I was allowed to compete in Nevada and all the other states, except for New York.” 

While it’s unfortunate that Aljamain Sterling may never have the chance to fight in his home state, fans of ‘Funk Master’ in the Empire State won’t have to drive too far to see their boy throw hands in a highly anticipated bantamweight main event. After successfully defending his title against former champions Petr Yan and T.J. Dillashaw, Sterling will attempt to do it once again as he meets Olympic gold medalist and former two-division titleholder Henry Cejudo.

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In 2020, Cejudo retired from the sport, vacating both his bantamweight and featherweight championships. Seeing an opportunity to claim UFC gold once again, ‘Triple C’ is back after a three-year-long layoff to resume his dominance in the 135-pound division.

Craig Pekios is a freelance writer born and raised in Bettendorf, IA. Joining LowKick MMA in May 2022, Craig has more than 2,500 articles published that focus on the world of mixed martial arts and boxing, including news, event previews, results, analysis, and op-eds. Aside from working with LowKick MMA, Craig has contributed to news outlets Overtime Heroics, Sportskeeda, and MiddleEasy.