UFC champ Sterling can’t compete in NY due to brain abnormality

UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling recently disclosed on The MMA Hour that he has a medical condition that has prevented him from competing in his home state of New York.

According to Sterling, a CAT scan conducted before his UFC debut in 2014 detected two spots in his brain. Sterling disclosed that the New York State Athletic Commission has denied him permission to compete due to that.

During his debut match at UFC 170 which was Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann, Sterling underwent a CAT scan as a requirement. The results of the scan indicated the presence of two spots in his brain, each approximately one millimeter in size. This indicated a possible trauma.

Sterling told Ariel Helwani: “So when I made my UFC debut, February 22, 2014, I’m a vet man, at UFC 170, the Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann card, I believe. I had to get a CAT scan, first time ever getting a CAT scan.”

“They found two spots on my brain, they were like a millimeter or something like that. But, it looked like there was trauma, and they weren’t sure what it was. I forget the exact term, aneurysm or angioma or something like that.”

To obtain clearance for competing, Sterling would have had to undergo surgery to remove the spots from his brain. However, the risk of surgery was too high. After monitoring the spots for a few years, it was determined that they were stable and not life-threatening. As a result, Sterling was allowed to compete in states other than New York.

Sterling continued saying: “In order for me to be cleared, I would’ve had to like go take it out of my head. So, I wasn’t sure if I needed to get like drilled in my head to pull these things out. So they monitored it, they allowed me to fight in Nevada… A couple years after they realized, nothing was happening.”

“They were like, ‘Okay, you’re safe. You’re not bleeding out, you’re not going to die in the cage.’ Knock on wood! So things were good, and I was allowed to compete in Nevada and all the other states except New York.”

Sterling is scheduled to return to the octagon this weekend for an eagerly awaited matchup against Henry Cejudo. In a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Megan Olivi, he revealed his desire to move up in weight class and compete for a second UFC title. Sterling intends to defend his bantamweight title against Henry Cejudo and Sean O’Malley.

Sterling would then move up to the featherweight division to compete against the winner of Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez. He intends to defend his title once more before calling it quits.

He stated: “I smash Henry [Cejudo]. I smash [Sean] O’Malley. I go up to 145 [pounds]. I fight [Alex] Volkanovski or [Yair] Rodriguez, and maybe I defend the belt one time, and I’m done.”