Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Sean Strickland admits to biting Dricus Du Plessis in ringside brawl ahead of UFC fight

Du Plessis had used Strickland’s childhood trauma as a source of trash talk just one day earlier

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Wednesday 03 January 2024 10:35 GMT
Comments
Cristiano Ronaldo's awkward reaction Conor McGregor

Sean Strickland has admitted to biting Dricus Du Plessis during the pair’s ringside brawl in December, ahead of their middleweight title fight this month.

Strickland will defend the belt against Du Plessis in the main event of UFC 297 on 20 January, but it will not mark the first physical encounter between the middleweights. At UFC 296 in December, Strickland leapt over a seat to attack Du Plessis at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The altercation came one day after a press conference at which South Africa’s Du Plessis used Strickland’s childhood trauma as a source of trash talk. American Strickland has spoken numerous times about the alleged physical abuse that he suffered at the hands of his father.

The UFC 296 brawl was filmed by fans in the arena, with footage showing Strickland and Du Plessis punching each other. However, the champion has now said the incident escalated further.

Speaking on the This Past Weekend podcast on Tuesday (2 January), Strickland said: “There’s some things that are off limits. You don’t really talk about a man’s wife, you don’t talk about a man’s kids, and you don’t about a kid being abused. These things are all off limits. Once he crossed that… I tried to f***ing ignore it. I was boiling.

“Whenever Dricus goes on there and he jokes about that s***, dude, you have no idea. I’ll f***ing kill you, you have no idea. I think the issue is, too, when you’re a kid and you’re made to be a victim your whole life, as an adult, you’re like, never again.

“I’m so happy [the cameras] didn’t get [the brawl] from a right angle; I bit him. I s*** you not. Whenever he went into me... I remember at that moment, he tackles me, and right there, you see my head goes up towards him. I started thinking: ‘How can hurt this man?’ I’m going take a f***ing chunk out of him. I’m going to bite his f***ing ear off.

“I remember telling myself at that moment, ‘Sean, you can’t do that, that’s something you can’t walk away from. If you do that, then I’m going to jail.’”

Strickland, 32, won the UFC middleweight title with a decision win over Israel Adesanya in September, in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.

Strickland received his title shot as a result of an injury to Du Plessis, 29, who was unable to recover in time to fight Adesanya.

Click here to subscribe to The Independent’s Sport YouTube channel for all the latest sports videos.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in