Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has revealed that the UFC brass were reluctant to hand Sean Strickland a title shot at UFC 293 as they are afraid the controversial fighter will embarrass the company.
So much so in fact that Adesanya had to go above and beyond to convince them that he should get the opportunity.
“He should thank me for actually making the fight happen, because without me, he wouldn’t have actually got the fight,” Adesanya told reporters at a media scrum. “I pushed for him to get the fight, because he was the next logical guy. I’ve beaten all the top 5, some of them twice. So you can’t punish us for being great, so yeah, I pushed for him to get the fight.
“He’s an idiot. I can’t say too much about that. He’s an idiot, so he just has to behave himself and actually show up and just fight.”
And even Adesanya was hesitant to get into specifics about exactly what concerns the UFC the most about Strickland’s antics.
“Like I said, he’s an idiot and you know, the UFC don’t want him embarrassing the company. But yeah, that’s all I’ll say about that so he should thank me. He should really thank me for actually making him get the fight. I pushed for it, he (coach Eugene Bareman) knows what happened behind the scenes and I pushed for it, and I’m glad the UFC trusted me to listen to me.”