Aljamain Sterling still fuming about being coerced into O’Malley fight at UFC 292: ‘I succumbed to the pressure’

Aljamain Sterling still fuming about being coerced into O'Malley fight at UFC 292: 'I succumbed to the pressure'

Aljamain Sterling is ready to close the book on what is undoubtedly the biggest regret of his mixed martial arts career.

In August, the ‘Funk Master’ surrendered his bantamweight world title following an early second-round knockout against Sean O’Malley at UFC 292. A mere three months earlier, Sterling successfully defended his title against Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, giving him little time to properly heal and prepare for ‘Sugar.’

Aljamain Sterling

Sterling has been quite vocal about the pressure he received from the promotion to jump right back into the fire after going five hard rounds with Cejudo. Now the recently released Fight Inc: Inside The UFC documentary is forcing him to relive it all over again.

In one behind-the-scenes clip, the promotion’s Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell asks Sterling to take the August fight not long after securing his third-straight title defense.

Needless to say, seeing the scene brought all of Sterling’s aggravation bubbling back to the surface.

“From that night, I said, I don’t know what he’s talking about,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “‘I have no desire to fight right now.’ And that was the whole thing I was saying. I have to heal up and see how my body holds up. We can fast forward, yes, I came into the fight compromised, into the training camp compromised. O’Malley got hurt during his training camp, two completely different things, but still the same. Both guys came into the fight with some lingering injuries.

“I think the difference was, in my personal opinion, the mind set. I think O’Malley was there to win at all costs. I was there to win, but I was also just there to be a participant. I hate to say it, but it’s the harsh reality. There’s a complete difference when someone is on, when they’re in the zone, and you can see when someone’s flowing, everything just went perfect.

“In a basketball game, in a football game, fighting, wrestling, when someone’s just on. You ever see those guys in wrestling tournaments that end up winning the whole thing as an unseeded person because something just clicked? They want to be there, they’re excited, and everything was just in sync for them. I didn’t feel that that night in August. No excuses, once again, no excuses. The better man that night won” (h/t MMA Fighting).

Aljamain Sterling still frustrated by the poor pPV buyrate of uFC 292

While the subject is still a sore one for the former 135-pound champ, Aljamain Sterling’s biggest regret isn’t necessarily taking the fight on short notice or even putting himself in a position to lose the belt.

“The only thing I say I regret is if I knew the pay-per-view numbers were going to be what it was, I would have just sat until January, February, March, and waited to fight,” Sterling said. “That’s the only thing I regret, because I felt like it was the opportunity of a lifetime after saying no, being coerced into doing it. Nobody put a gun to my head. I eventually succumbed to the pressure and said, ‘OK, fine. I’ll do it. And after this I’m going on my vacation.’ I said, win or lose I’m going on my vacation.”

“In hindsight, I wish I stuck to my guns and just waited, because the bag of loot, the golden pot, Lucky Charms, or whatever at the end of the rainbow — I mean, I made good money, but it wasn’t what I was thinking it was going to be, and I’m motivated by money. I’m a freaking prizefighter, I fight for money. We all do. So if the bag was going to be that and it was known, obviously, hindsight 20/20, I would have just opted to chill.”

Aljamain Sterling

The buyrate for UFC 292 has not been released, but insider reports claim that the event drew in somewhere around 350,000 purchases.

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According to a report from Hal Singer, champions typically receive $1 for every pay-per-view ticket sold when the buyrate lands between 200,000 and 400,000. Over 400,000, the payout doubles to $2 per PPV purchase and then again bumps up to $2.50 once the event eclipses more than 600,000.

That would mean Aljamain Sterling took home an extra $350,000 in addition to his base pay and other bonuses. In total, the ‘Funk Master’ is said to have left Boston with nearly $1.3 million.

Aljamain Sterling