‘He takes the title and an Oscar’: Fans claim Sterling FAKED effects of illegal knee which cost Yan belt at UFC 259
Defending champion Yan detonated a brutal illegal knee strike on Sterling in the fourth round of their contest in Las Vegas, as the American still had one knee of his own on the canvas.
Sterling was sent sprawling onto his back and immediately clutched at his face.
Amid a lengthy break he was attended to by a cageside doctor, who asked the fighter if he was seeing straight.
“A little… it’s just a little, I mean, I’m lying down so it’s better,” Sterling replied, before appearing to add: “If I stand up, I feel like I could fall over.”
That prompted the doctor to inform referee Mark Smith that “I think we’re going to be done,” as the official waved off the fight and disqualified Yan in a disastrous end to the first defense of his 135lbs title.
Replays showed the full force of the blow – with large numbers of fans astounded by the recklessness of Yan’s actions.
However, some observers – including former 135lbs champion DJ Dillashaw – suggested that Sterling had milked the situation and gone into acting mode as he snatched the title from his Russian rival.
And the Oscar goes to @FakeMaster for Best Actor in a Title Fight and Petr Yan needs a crash course in the rules of the sport he was once champion in. Hey Petr now you’re a cheater too, bitch.— TJ Dillashaw (@TJDillashaw) March 7, 2021
Aljamain Sterling when he gets back to his hotel room and can stop acting concussed pic.twitter.com/xSNGPEA8jw— 📈⛵️🍋 (@22CVR_reborn) March 7, 2021
Others, though, branded fans 'clowns' if they thought Sterling was overdoing it with his response to the sickening knee strike from Yan.
Petr Yan should lose his entire fight purse for that BS. How can you actually pay him after that? That is the worst, most impactful and obvious intentional foul I think I have ever seen. #UFC259— Mike Swick (@officialswick) March 7, 2021
The overacting theory seems to jar somewhat with Sterling's own response to being crowned the new UFC bantamweight king at Yan's expense.
The American called the conclusion to the fight “bullsh*t” and vowed to run it back with Yan, even tossing the 135lbs title to the canvas after it had been wrapped around his waist.
Yan, meanwhile, apologized to his rival, writing on Twitter that the illegal knee had been unintentional.
I apologize and wish speedy recovery to @funkmasterMMA I didn’t mean to throw an illegal strike, I just made a big mistake and paid for it.— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) March 7, 2021
Amongst the chaotic scenes at the UFC Apex another man to come under fire was UFC commentator Joe Rogan, who was criticized for proceeding with an interview with Sterling in the aftermath of the dazed ending to the fight.
Joe Rogan interviewing Aljamain Sterling after the illegal knee pic.twitter.com/E5ao1QdeIv— As Shopped As It Gets (@AsShopped) March 7, 2021
Fighter is dead in the octagon Joe Rogan: pic.twitter.com/9xZ4kvh4t8— Keith Peterson (@KPetersonUFC) March 7, 2021
An upset Sterling told Rogan that he had attempted to continue against Yan despite being "all f*cked up like that," but that he was "in bad shape and it would have been ego taking over."
As the dust settles, Yan is left to contemplate defeat in a fight in which he had been leading on two of the three judges' scorecards, and was seemingly on course for an eighth win on the spin in the UFC octagon.
In the end, the Russian became the first person to relinquish a UFC title through disqualification as 'No Mercy' suffered only his second defeat in 17 professional MMA contests.Also on rt.com Moment of madness: ILLEGAL KNEE costs Petr Yan title as he is disqualified against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259 (VIDEO)