Sean Strickland, the UFC middleweight champion, is no stranger to controversy, often expressing his unfiltered opinions without reservation. Recently, he directed his critique towards former UFC contender Paige VanZant, who transitioned to the exclusive content business on OnlyFans after leaving the UFC in 2020.
VanZant's success on the subscription-based platform, where she claims to earn more in a day than her entire fighting career, became a focal point for Strickland's scorn. In a scathing social media post, Strickland dismissed VanZant as a legitimate fighter, undermining the value of women's MMA as a whole.
He dissected her OnlyFans earnings, attributing her UFC signing to her physical appearance rather than her skills, declaring women's MMA as "lame," and suggesting that audiences are more willing to pay for nudity than for watching female athletes compete.
"Paige Vanzant said she made more on only fans in 24 hours than she did in the UFC. Let's unpack. 1.) You were signed because you're hot. 2.) Women's MMA is lame. 3.) Men will pay more to see you unclothed than to watch you fight.
Stay in school, kids, fighting sucks, lol."
Although we are used to such statements from Strickland, this was inappropriate
This bold commentary stirred reactions within the MMA community, sparking debates on Strickland's right to express his opinions versus the need for respect and sportsmanship.
While some supported his freedom of speech, others criticized the disrespectful tone and the broad generalizations about women's MMA. The incident heightened ongoing discussions about the objectification of female fighters and the broader issue of gender bias in mixed martial arts.
The fallout from Strickland's remarks extended beyond the initial controversy, prompting reflections on the treatment of athletes, especially female fighters, in the sport. The incident underscored the necessity for a more inclusive and nuanced dialogue within the MMA community, addressing issues of respect, equality, and fair representation for all fighters, regardless of gender.