Matt Serra Retires From Cornering, Feels ‘Hurt’ By Aljamain Sterling’s Decision To Leave Him Out Of UFC 259 Corner

Matt Serra

Former UFC welterweight champion, Matt Serra has today confirmed that he plans to retire from cornering fighters in professional mixed martial ars — detailing how he felt “hurt” and “disrespected” by Aljamain Sterling’s decision to leave him absent from his corner for UFC 259 last Saturday.

Serra, along with Ray Longo spearhead the Serra-Longo fight team out of Long Island, New York — which has served as base camp for Sterling since his career began, as well as prominent UFC standouts, former middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, and lightweight contender, Al Iaquinta to name a few.

Challenging for the undisputed UFC bantamweight championship last weekend, Uniondale grappler, Sterling, who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Serra — managed to take home the title in a controversial disqualification victory after defending gold holder, Petr Yan landed an illegal knee to the downed Sterling in the fourth round.

Sterling, who had recently relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada for his camp ahead of his outing against Yan, took the above mentioned, Longo into his corner, as well as Xtreme Couture mastermind, Eric Nicksick.

Featuring on the UFC Unfiltered podcast today with comedian, Jim Norton — Serra spoke about how he felt when he realised he wouldn’t feature in Sterling’s corner for his student’s first title challenge under the UFC’s banner.

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When I found out I wasn’t in it (the corner), I gave Aljo (Aljamain Sterling) a call,” Serra said. “I felt stupid because I made a call before that and left a nice message. Then I got a call from (Ray) Longo and he said, ‘How are you out of the corner? It’s your team.’ I said you f*cking tell me. But at the same time, I didn’t want his head f*cked up before the fight so I didn’t attack him. I called him and left a message and said, ‘I love you and I’m here for you either way if you need me.’ I told Aljo a few weeks before he left (for Las Vegas) that the COVID(-19) sh*t is crazy so if you need to use bodies (for corners) I understand. But when you’ve been with a guy for that long — first of all, Aljo texted me and said he would call me back, but I didn’t hear from the kid for three days. I don’t want to be over-sensitive, but how do you think those nights were sleeping? I’m just hurt. I know you’re busy and things are going on but I gotta know what the f*ck I’m doing.

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So when I talked to him, we talked a little bit about sparring partners and this and that,” Serra explained. “So I understand if it’s about that, I understand. But then I’m watching (the fight) and I have nothing against Eric Nicksick, he’s a nice guy and it’s not his fault Aljo went there (to Xtreme Couture), but it’s like, hey man, you’re gonna have some guy you been working with for three months and I’ve been with you for seven years? If that’s what you want then I understand. But this is the thing. Now, this is no longer this thing of ours with mine or Longo. And that’s all, we did this (creating Team Serra-Longo) with the intention of guys reaching their goals. But you can’t help but feel disrespected. From the time this guy got into the UFC, you can point to one time I missed a sparring session in seven years. I got a family, but you train, you go, and you do it proudly because you’re backing up your guy. It’s out guy vs. another savage that’s what it is. I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little hurt. And I love everyone involved, but you gotta know when People make choices there are consequences. So I can understand nobody wanted to say anything because they didn’t want to fu*k up this kid’s head before the fight. But at the same time, I would have handled things differently if the shoe was on the other foot.

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Serra further explained that off the back of Sterling’s decision to leave him out of cornering duties, he’s now decided to retire from cornering altogether. 

My thing is, going forward, it’s better now to make an exit on a high note,” Serra said. “I loved cornering, but what is it for the next fight, is it me and Nicksick with rock, paper, scissors to see who gets to corner? I have a family. I will always be in this kid’s corner, just not physically anymore. And not by my choice, but by the choices that are made here. So I’m retiring from the whole cornering thing.” (