Sterling Likens Post-UFC 259 Treatment To “Black Women” Trope

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Aljamain Sterling is struggling to grasp why exactly it’s so hard to believe he was legitimately impacted by Petr Yan‘s illegal knee to a fight-ending degree.

With UFC 273 right around the corner, #KneeGate is about to be resolved and the feud between Sterling and Yan will finally have a sense of closure. But during fight week, the controversial ending to the first bout between Sterling and Yan has been rehashed ad naseum, just as it has been for the 13 months prior.

All in all, the UFC 259 encounter between Sterling and Yan was mostly competitive until it wasn’t and Yan began to pull away with the fight. Then, in the fourth round, one knee changed everything.

VIDEO: Illegal Knee Disqualifies Petr Yan From Aljamain Sterling Fight
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

After Yan kneed a downed Aljamain Sterling, he would lose the bantamweight championship via disqualification after Sterling was deemed unable to continue. However, Sterling’s critics have incessantly argued that he was faking the funk, if you will, and that he acted it up in order to escape Yan’s onslaught and be awarded the victory.

In a recent in-depth interview on his YouTube channel, Sterling expressed his bewilderment on how and why so many are convinced that Yan’s knee was unable to cause fight-ending damage. He even compared it to an old trope about the pain tolerance of African-American women.

“When they paint the context and the narrative that someone faked—that’s the worst part. When they kinda make it seem like I legitimately faked because they’re now officially doctors, and they have diagnosed multiple athletes and multiple concussions throughout their lifetime that they know what the symptoms of a concussion is, they know how compromised and how badly hurt I was.

“There’s this thing that they used to say about black women. And I don’t want to make this thing about race, but they used to say black women can endure a lot more pain than others, so they would be treated differently. Why is that? So you’re saying that, me—and again, it’s not about race—but it makes me wonder, like, what about that situation for me makes it different for somebody else if they were to get hit with the same type of strike that it would affect them differently than it affects me? Meaning, it would affect them more and I’m less affected and that I pretended?

My body wasn't agreeing with me' - Aljamain Sterling explains UFC 267  withdrawal - Bloody Elbow
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

“We all know what a knee strike is. We all know what a legal knee strike is. We all know that the strikes that you don’t see are the ones that do the most damage. So why is it that when it happens to me, it’s weird for that to be true? I don’t get it. You know what knee strikes do. You see me run headfirst into a knee with Marlon Moraes, out like a light. We see other people get wobbly legs, all this stuff. But for some reason, for my particular situation, I faked it. Is it because I didn’t go out? You know what I mean? So it’s just like, where’s the context in that? Where’s the perspective in that type of situation where it’s like, now this makes sense? I can’t rationalize anything that these people say. I can’t because it makes no sense whatsoever.”

All the debates and ponderings will soon be rendered obsolete when Sterling and Yan meet again at UFC 273. It is then when the one true bantamweight king will emerge and the talk silenced.

What do you make of Aljamain Sterling’s thoughts on his critics’ doubting the effects of Petr Yan’s illegal knee?

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