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Morning Report: Sean O’Malley responds to UFC 264 backlash: ‘What does Chael say, fight the worst guy on the highest spot on the card’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Sean O’Malley is entirely unfazed by his detractors.

This Saturday, O’Malley takes on UFC newcomer Kris Moutinho on the main card of UFC 264. Originally, O’Malley was supposed to face Louis Smolka, however, last week a staph infection rendered Smolka unable to compete on Saturday and the UFC was put into scramble mode to find an opponent for “Suga.” Fortunately, given O’Malley’s popularity there was no shortage of fighters willing to step in on short notice, including several notable fighters. Ultimately though, the opportunity when to Moutinho, a 9-4 professional fighter who was competing under the CFFC banner. The announcement triggered a good deal of backlash from fans and fighters but O’Malley is unperturbed.

“I’m ready to hear the ‘I’m not fighting a ranked opponent,’” O’Malley said on The Schmozone podcast. “It’s like, okay, they offered me Louis Smolka, he’s not ranked. People were kind of upset with the opponent but they were like, ‘Eh, whatever.’ He pulls out. They say, ‘Oh you didn’t pick a ranked opponent for a replacement.’ I got offered zero, I’ve never been offered a ranked opponent ever. I’ve never fought a ranked opponent - I think (Marlon Vera) Chito when he was 15 or something. Never fought ranked, I’m not ranked. People are mad. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to tell them.”

Though O’Malley had a number of willing opponents, the one that seemed the best option was undoubtedly Ricky Simon. Like O’Malley, Simon is a highly touted bantamweight prospect and threw his hat in the ring for the bout. O’Malley, for his part, was also interested in the fight, teasing the bout on his social media. But, O’Malley said, Simon couldn’t make weight for the bout rendering the point moot, which is how the fight ended up going to Moutinho.

“I told them I want to stay at ‘35,” O’Malley said. “My weight cut right now, my diet and everything is to go to 135. If we can find someone to go to 135, anyone, I’m going to take it at ‘35. If there’s zero people in the world that can take it at ‘35, I will bump up to 145. The UFC sent me a list of a couple guys, Simon being one of them, that could make ‘35. I was like f*ck, that’s a pretty tough fight. It was the toughest fight of the ones that they offered me and I said let’s do it. Then his manager called and said he can’t make 135 and I was like, why is he on the list?

“So he was out. One of the guys was Nate (Diaz)’s boy. He was like 6-5 so I definitely couldn’t take that fight. That just looks bad. And then Kris was on there, 9-4, picked him and they gave him a contract.”

That explanation likely won’t hold much water with O’Malley’s detractors though who almost immediately reacted by suggesting that O’Malley could have accepted a catchweight fight. But Suga says that would have just been bad business.

“He wants to take me down and lay on me,” O’Malley said of Simon. “That is 100 percent his game plan. I was 149 pounds that night. Why would I fight at 145 right now? He’s probably 165. That makes no sense....

“What does Chael (Sonnen) say, fight the worst guy on the highest spot on the card. I literally would get paid the same amount if I fight Khabib (Nurmagomedov) Saturday than if I fight Kris. I get paid the same amount. What do I do?.... I’m a business man that’s good at fighting. I make money from fighting.”

On that point, it’s hard to disagree with O’Malley. Moreover, now O’Malley is set up with a potential showcase opportunity on a Conor McGregor fight card, the kind of opportunity that could raise his profile to a whole new level, at least, that’s what O’Malley envisions will happen this weekend. The bantamweight prospect says that come Saturday, Kris Moutinho is in for a very rough night.

“Ton of respect for him for taking that fight but it’s a dangerous fight,” O’Malley said. “I don’t just TKO people, I don’t just submit people. I really change people’s careers. I knock people out in devastating fashion. So this could be the beginning of his career or it could be the end of his career.”


Recap. Ricky Turcios advances to the semi-finals of the bantamweight tournament on The Ultimate Fighter.

No cap. Jorge Masvidal steps in after Colby Covington releases Dustin Poirier video; sparring partner responds.

Stopgap. Dana White: Francis Ngannou knew about interim belt, Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane ‘absolutely makes sense’.

Oh, crap. Stephen A. Smith joins UFC 264 broadcast, while commentary team features Joe Rogan, Daniel Cormier.



Top 10 flyweight finishes in Bellator.

Call out.

Donald Cerrone talking about getting the fire back.

Nick Newell has a movie about his life coming out.


What the Heck. Interviews with Ciryl Gane, Jake Hager, Eric Nicksick, and Sarah Alpar.

UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Ryan Hall and John Gooden.



Brandon Moreno meeting the president.

The beef continues.



Quite the sparring session.



Raquel Pennington (11-8) vs. Pannie Kianzad (15-5); UFC Fight Night, Sep. 18.

Maryna Moroz (10-3) vs. Luana Carolina (7-2); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 16.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



How do you feel about O’Malley’s short notice opponent?

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  • 61%
    It’s fine
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    It’s lame
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1075 votes total Vote Now

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