Surging bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley has made headlines for his flashy in-cage style in his two UFC wins over Andre Soukhamthath and Terrion Ware.
But ‘Sugar’ has begun branching out his overall scope of appearance by promoting himself in his own unique way, and he continued that during the live TV broadcast for last Saturday’s UFC on FOX 29 from Glendale, Arizona.
O’Malley channeled his inner Nate Diaz and pretended to light a joint on live television, lighting the Twitterverse on fire and furthering his already-growing (and weed-focused) persona. While you might have thought O’Malley would get into at least some trouble for pretending to smoke weed on television, apparently, that wasn’t the case.
The rising star revealed on this week’s episode of The MMA Hour that his bosses at the UFC weren’t too angry with him for his on-camera stunt:
“Where they sat us was right in the UFC section, so I figured they would [put me on camera],
“Eventually they come up to us and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to shoot you guys here in a little bit, we’ll let you know’. I was like, ‘this is perfect timing.’
“I kept smiling at [UFC official] Heidi [Dean] who had just told us that we’re going to get on camera because I knew that she wasn’t going to be happy with me, but she wasn’t too mad. She was the one who said, ‘Okay, you guys are going to be on camera in 3,2,1,’ and I kept smiling at her but she didn’t know why, but I think she did then.”
‘Sugar’ was also sitting next to a fellow rising star in touted women’s strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern, his teammate at the MMA Lab in Arizona. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu phenom appeared surprised when O’Malley pretended to light his spliff, but O’Malley insisted he told her his plan and she had approved:
“I told her before; I warned her. Well, I told her right before and she said, ‘Okay’. Mackenzie is cool. She’s been training at The MMA Lab for three years, so I’ve known her for a while.”
O’Malley injured his foot in his win over Soukhamthath at March’s UFC 223, and had fans talking when he said he would heal up with the aid of some ‘medicine’ in his now-infamous post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
We now know what medicine he’s referring to, and based on the increased legality of medicinal marijuana and his online personality flaunting its use, O’Malley is quickly -and cunningly – gaining a large number of fans by promoting that side of his persona.
Will he become the next Nate Diaz in MMA?