Sean Strickland has been something of a wild card. Strickland has never been UFC’s favorite due to his lack of knock out power and unusually candid opinions. But they’ve warmed up to him after he made it clear he’ll compete against anyone, anytime – which is how he became a champion.
Recently Strickland was a guest on the Extra Rounds LIVE from PBR Las Vegas featuring Don Frye and TJ Desantis. On there, Strickland didn’t mince words:
“This guy came up to me, and he said, ‘Hey, you know, my son’s seventeen. He trains. He wants to be a fighter. Do you have any advice?’ I said, ‘Don’t do it.’ He goes, ‘What do you mean?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m going to explain. If you guys have kids at home who want to be a fighter, let me explain to you the joy of being a fighter.’ I was like, ‘You’ve seen the contenders (series). What do you think they make?’ And he goes, ‘I don’t know.’ I say, ‘They make five and five. If they lose, they make five.’ He goes, ‘Damn.’ I say, ‘If you lose, guess what? You’re not going to the UFC. So, this entire life, you could have spent building a life, doing any other aspect in life. You chose to train for fighting.’
“So, let’s just say you make it. Now, you make it to the UFC. What do you think they sign the average guy on? You know, this one man, TJ, you’re a UFC guy. ”
De Santis offered meekly: “Uh, it’s twelve and twelve.”
“Ten and ten. Ten and ten from this man. So, you make it to the UFC. You get signed ten and ten, and now you fight for ten and ten. You’ve spent your entire life working toward this one goal. You can get the blue checkmark. You get the UFC in your logo. You get all the people. You get all of it now. So, you go to the UFC, and they’ll get you, and now guess what, you guys? You’ve made a total of, let’s see, $20,000. You’ve made a total of $60,000 your entire career, and you have no other options because you can’t be a part-time fighter. You’ve got to be full-time, right?”
“So, now, you’re a 24-year-old man looking at yourself in the mirror saying, ‘I spent my entire life doing this one thing, and I’ve made $24,000 or $30,000.’ You go teach karte or kickboxing, and that’s like the damn shame of most industries. It’s like you get kind of Weinsteined. You know, you get like you. They put this big old **** UFC logo, and again, I love you guys. I make more money than you see. ****, I mean, I’m not a poor man. You guys, I would be in the rich category, which still **** shocks me every time I think about it, but they put this big **** logo, and you sell your **** soul for it. You sell your **** soul. ”
“Most guys in this sport, how many people in this sport end up not being poor? After they’re done, and this isn’t NFL poor…That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking on. I made $60,000. Now, what’s next?”
Strickland shared a very similar train of thought on the Joe Rogan Experience where he went on to explain that the trouble with MMA payscale isn’t so much that the UFC is underpaying, as much as it’s the fact that a base paycheck will get you covered for a year in Dagestan, while you’ll be homeless in the US.
Strickland addressed the UFC’s decision to cut a part of his interview in a social media post saying:
“Think this was cut???? “They’re not going to air any of this” technical difficulties lmao!!! This is an all industry thing, Jeff Bezo can go build a rocket to go to space but can’t pay a couple more dollars. This isn’t a UFC thing this an American thing that’s what I was saying when the stream cut.”
Previously Strickland delivered an unusually wholesome minute when he explained why he still drives an old beat up Hyundai.
“The reason why I drive a s—y Hyundai is, one: I’m cheap, very cheap,” he said. “But, the entire world makes you feel inadequate. Everything we do from what you wear to what you drive. You are born living in a f—ing commercial. When you’re a little infant and you’re watching TV, you are born looking at Audi and Mercedes commercials. When you hand a kid a cell phone when they’re born, they’re being f—ing brainwashed.
“I love America more than anything, but I do not recognize the world we live in,” he continued. “We are creating a generation of boys who judge their character by what they drive and what they wear. I don’t want to participate in making people feel like you are not enough. If you make, if you work an 8-hour job, if you do rebar, if you do electrical, I think that value of you comes from how you act, by the kind of father you are.”
“It’s a damn shame,” he concluded. “It’s a damn shame that we let corporations come in this country and we ruin the idea of what a f—ing man is. So as long as I’m a f—ing champion: you guys, enjoy your old f—ing crocs, enjoy your old beat-up f—ing Honda Civics, man. Just enjoy that s—.”
Prior to Strickland’s wholesome image, he was criticized for slight misogyny and a slew of other problematic statements.