Henry Cejudo’s coach is making some big claims about UFC 288, ones that champion Aljamain Sterling doesn’t agree with.
Cejudo challenged Sterling for the bantamweight title in the main event of UFC 288. The fight ended up being a good one, with Sterling winning a competitive split decision to retain his title, and in the aftermath, the champion celebrated his record-setting victory, saying that he did the MMA world a favor in “shutting up” Cejudo, and advising Cejudo’s coach Eric Albarracin and the rest of Cejudo’s team to refrain from acting like “asshats and clowns” after a tense build toward the fight. Well, on Wednesday, Albarracin fired back.
“They call us, we’re the ass-clowns, we’re the bullies, because I said, ‘Make him piss blood,’” Albarracin said on The MMA Hour. “Two things, this ain’t pickleball is one. Two, it’s UFC Countdown to promote the fight, and to tell you the truth, they edited it in, because I was saying it in Portuguese. It’s like, ‘Uh vai morrer,’ you know how they say that at soccer? You’re not dying at a soccer game, but they say it and now they say it in MMA. Our coaches in Brazil with the Pitbull brothers, when we’re throwing body shots, they say, ‘Bota pra mijar sangue,’ which means ‘make him piss blood,’ which means hit him hard to the body.
“But they asked me, ‘What does it mean in English?’ and I did a little translation off to the side. It wasn’t in the video, it was in an edit, and they threw it in.
“But we’re the ass-clowns? With Merab O’Malley putting on the Michael Jackson Thriller jacket, jumping on the cage, acting like it was him that got the gifted fifth round and he won the world title? Come on. We’re the ass-clowns? You’ve got Ray Longo, he can say “Aljo, look at that motherf*****. Punch a hole in his chest!’ He can say that but we can’t say, ‘Make him piss blood?’
“And then you’re cursing at my Long Islanders? I’m from New York. You know why they’re booing you? Because they thought you lost! That’s why they’re booing you. And now you’re trying to benefit off the cringe? Are you serious? You know how many pay-per-views he got? Seven hundred thousand. He needs to be thanking us. He never even got over 200,000 on a pay-per-view. This one was 700,000, which is more than double of anything he ever got.”
Sterling’s team declined to comment when asked about Albarracin’s claim, but the champion himself seems to be refuting it. After the interview, Sterling tweeted at Albarracin, saying he does not expect for UFC 288 to clear 250,000 pay-per-view buys.
.@CPTdasAmericas I was told yesterday we’d be lucky to break 250k PPV buys and you’re going on air to lie that you know for certain that we made 700,000 buys?! Are you on the bottle this afternoon bro?? Stop the CAP #MMAHour— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) May 10, 2023
“I was told yesterday we’d be lucky to break 250k PPV buys and you’re going on air to lie that you know for certain that we made 700,000 buys?! Are you on the bottle this afternoon bro?? Stop the CAP #MMAHour”
Not one to let things lie, Albarracin responded with a screen shot of an unsubstantiated report saying UFC 288 sold an estimated 700,000 pay-per-views, which Sterling dismissed as “nonsense.”
No for the Cause . #Dharmma #rum$https://t.co/qozeXoyjzi https://t.co/9ojXVzk1uL pic.twitter.com/0I4YQWFP2u— Eric Albarracin (@CPTdasAmericas) May 10, 2023
Broooo ♂️ stop with this nonsense. You’re smarter than this.— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) May 10, 2023
“Broooo stop with this nonsense. [Facepalm emoji] You’re smarter than this.”
Ultimately, the animosity between the two camps could be setting up Cejudo’s next fight.
Though he mentioned possible retirement after the loss, Cejudo seems to have quickly pivoted towards chasing a No. 1 contender fight with Sterling’s friend and teammate, Merab Dvalishvili, on the same card where Sterling defends his title against Sean O’Malley. And if that timeline doesn’t work for one reason or another, Albarracin says they’re happy to wait.
“That storyline, you say him call him out at the press conference — there it is,” Albarracin said.
“No. 1 contender. If Sean O’Malley wins, boom, we fight Sean O’Malley. If ‘Aljo’ wins and goes up, we’re fighting for the title still. Or maybe they don’t fight on the same card and Merab and Henry fight for the title, if it’s not on the same card in Boston.”