Robert Whittaker calls bluff on Strickland – du Plessis brawl at UFC 296: ‘I thought it was staged, mate’

Robert Whittaker calls bluff on Strickland - du Plessis brawl at UFC 296 it looked fake mate

Former undisputed middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker has claimed he believes last weekend’s violent scuffle between defending divisional champion, Sean Strickland and former foe, Dircus du Plessis was “staged” – as the pair prepare for a grudge match at UFC 297 next month.

Whittaker, the current number three ranked middleweight contender, has been sidelined since he featured at UFC 290 back in July of this year during International Fight Week, suffering a surprising second round loss to incoming title challenger, du Plessis – succumbing to second round strikes in a TKO defeat.

As for Strickland and du Plessis, the duo faced off at a heated press conference on Friday in Las Vegas ahead of next month’s title fight in Canada, with the latter boldly reminding Strickland of the admitted child abuse and physical abuse he was the victim of at the hands of his late father. 

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Seated just two rows apart at UFC 296 over the weekend on fighter row, Strickland and Pretoria native, du Plessis engaged in a violetn scuffle in the crowd, with the defending middleweight champion removed from the arena as a result. 

Robert Whittaker doubts legitimacy of UFC 296 brawl

Again goading Strickland following the incident, du Plessis mocked the finishing rate of the brash champion, however, the above-mentioned, Robert Whittaker believes the brawl between the two was orchestrated and staged.

“I thought it was staged, mate, honestly,” Robert Whittaker said on the MMArcade Podcast. “Because it was weird, it was weird the way it happened. You saw the way (Sean) Strickladn was like, ‘Move aside, please.’ Makes sense, but then he jumps in WWE style. The way he was punching, the way he kind of like, I don’t know, fake punching to the back of Dricus (du Plessis).”

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“Maybe it was just for entertainment, and which case, you can’t really give him anything for it. I don’t know. It’s a bit silly. He’s the champ.” 

Also sharing his thoughts on the skirmish between his two rivals, ex-two-time champion, Adesanya claimed he was all for the brawl, praising Strickland for landing what he described as a “sucker punch”