UFC or WWE? Robert Whittaker Questions “Staged” Sean Strickland And Dricus Du Plessis Fight At UFC 296

Sean Strickland UFC

As you’ve probably see by now, punches were flying in and out of the octagon at last weekend’s UFC event.

Headlined by the welterweight title fight between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington, the week leading up to the card was filled with enough trash talk to make you wonder if the merger between the UFC and WWE from earlier in the year was bringing a bit too much of the over-the-top, manufactured drama into the real fight business.

Contender Ian Garry was called out for his wife’s past behavior and the fact that he took her ex-husband’s last name as his own. Covington gave some scathing remarks towards Lebron James as well as brought up the fact that Edwards’ father was murdered while he was a child. Paddy the Baddy and UFC legend Tony Ferguson went back and forth with some jabs at each other’s appearance.

But by far nothing approached WWE style buildup than a fight that happened in the crowd during the event.

Sean Strickland is the current Middleweight champion and is will make his first title defense against South African contender Dricus Du Plessis on January 20th at UFC 297. Well, for some reason or another, the two men were sat just a few rows apart and when the camera panned to Strickland, Du Plessis began throwing some verbal jabs at the champ.

If you know anything about Sean Strickland, you know that he’s not the type to back down from a fight, and after respectfully asking Gilbert Burn’s son to move out of the way, he launched himself over the chairs and began raining down punches and elbows on Du Plessis.

I don’t remember the last time anything like that happened in the UFC and while on one hand you can say it’s a bad idea to taunt a guy with the tendencies of Strickland, it got a lot of people wondering if this incident had been put in place to create anticipation for their eventual bout.

One of the people who spoke openly about the fight was Robert Whittaker, the former middleweight champion who Du Plessis beat recently to secure his number one contender status.

On his MMArcade Podcast, Whittaker questioned the legitimacy of the in-stands brawl.

“I thought it was staged, mate, honestly. “Because it was weird. It was weird the way it happened. You saw the way Strickland was like, ‘Move aside, please.’ Makes sense, but then he jumps in like WWE style. The way he was punching, the way he was kind of like, I don’t know, fake punching to the back of Dricus. 

Maybe it was just for entertainment, and which case, you can’t really give him anything for it. I don’t know. It’s a bit silly. He’s the champ. But I don’t know, I think that fight looked a little staged. Staged on Strickland’s behalf, I don’t think Dricus got the memo.”

There’s few fighters more respected than Whittaker and when he talks, we should all listen.

I agree that it did look a bit strange, but again it could be very much a natural fight that broke out between two testosterone filled men. Do you think the UFC is getting a bit to WWE with their promotions? I think it’s a fair question to ask and the more things like this that happen the more people will bring it up.

You can watch the entire episode here, where he addresses the fight in the first segment.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock