Petr Yan was on his way to victory at UFC 259 when he struck Aljamain Sterling with an illegal knee in the 4th round -- but the aftermath of the incident has been almost as entertaining as the fight.
With the victory, Sterling was appointed as the new UFC bantamweight champion -- the first ever champion crowned via disqualification.
Immediately after the fight Yan took to social media to apologize to Sterling for the obviously illegal strike.
“I apologize and wish speedy recovery to [Sterling] I didn’t mean to throw an illegal strike, I just made a big mistake,” Yan said via Twitter.
Fans immediately started demanding a rematch, saying that Sterling didn’t earn the title. Sterling responded to the criticism saying he wanted a rematch to take the title for real.
“Not the way I ever want to win a fight. It was close, competitive and filled with action. WE WILL DO IT AGAIN,” Sterling said via Twitter.
While Sterling had tweeted about the immediate rematch, he also got into a verbal sparring match with Henry Cejudo about a possible matchup, which caught the attention of a disgruntled Yan. Yan quote tweeted the Sterling and Cejudo exchange saying, “Paper champ already ducking the rematch.”
While the initial pleasantries after the fight were in good sportsmanship, the vail was quickly removed as Sterling and Yan threw haymakers on Twitter. Sterling accused Yan of a ‘fake apology’, and Yan fired back by mocking Sterling for celebrating a title he thought he didn’t deserve.
Cejudo wasn’t the only one taking shots from the shadows after UFC 259. TJ Dillashaw also called out Sterling for earning an Oscar for his floop, and he also took a free swing at Yan by telling him to learn the rules.
While Cejudo and Dillashaw are trying to force their way into the spotlight, Yan still deserves redemption for his mistake.
“They both want the rematch. We’ve gotta do the rematch. We’ve just gotta figure out when,” Dana White said.
Francis Ngannou wasn’t satisfied with the results either.
“They have to run this back,” Ngannou said immediately after UFC 259.
Yan’s illegal knee has stirred up some controversy at the bantamweight level and everybody wants in on the bad blood and trash talk -- the only issue for Dana White now is scheduling all of the fights. There are plenty of fighters who are going to have to back up there cocky social media personas.