This week, Sean O’Malley has won some new fans as a result of viral videos showing him dancing with individuals with disabilities.
Sean O’Malley made history when he won the bantamweight title. At UFC 292, he delivered a knockout blow to Aljamain Sterling and earned himself the coveted UFC gold on his first attempt.
Yet, O’Malley’s journey to success has not been without controversy. His bold confidence and unconventional appearance have made him a polarizing figure. His image evokes strong emotions from fans who either rally behind him or hope for his downfall.
In the viral footage, Sean O’Malley was accompanied by his coach Tim Welch. The two paid a visit to a group of individuals with disabilities. As the music filled the room, everyone in the room began to dance including O’Malley and Welch.
O’Malley previously competed in an Unlimited BJJ “Super Fight” against a local with Down syndrome named Isaac Godoy.
O’Malley said: “One of our buddy’s, Allan (Di Lucia), is his coach and owns the (Unlimited BJJ) gym and he has free classes for special needs kids. So he messaged me on Instagram and asked me if I wanted to compete against him and I was jacked.”
“He said it would make his day, and I told him it would make mine, so doing stuff like that is just priceless, that’s where pure happiness is.”
In front of a large crowd of onlookers on Sunday at Phoenix College, both boxers put on their gis and entered the ring. Early in the battle, Godoy and O’Malley gauged each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Then, Godoy went for the takedown. He finally forced the UFC star to submit with a choke.
O’Malley said “I wasn’t too familiar with what he was capable of doing, but his coach told me if he takes my back he can choke or he can do an armbar. But it was a lot of fun and it, was a good time.”
The two combatants exchanged hugs after the bout. Then Godoy raised his hands in the air to thunderous ovation from the audience.
“After watching the video and seeing him get his hand raised, it was awesome. He was just super excited,” O’Malley said.
“The cool thing is, he’d be happy doing anything whether it’s jiu-jitsu or anything else, he’s just a happy kid who we could learn a lot from.”
This heartwarming video has prompted a wave of reactions from fans, many of whom found a newfound appreciation for O’Malley. Some even expressed a complete change in their view of the 135lb champion.
One fan candidly admitted: “Well I didn’t like you…until now. Not that you care lol…”
Another echoed this sentiment, expressing pride in having O’Malley as their champion: “This one video change my entire view on Sean O’Malley, the dude is a stud.”
Sean O’Malley has his sights set on Marlon Vera for his first title defense. The two have a history, with Vera being the only combatant to secure a victory over O’Malley in MMA.