Alyamain Sterling became the UFC champion last weekend, the first to reach the belt by disqualifying his opponent, and he did so without the presence of his longtime coach Matt Serra. If you’ve watched UFC 259, specifically the fight between Sterling and Peter Yan, then you may have noticed that there was no popular Serra in the corner of the new champion alongside Ray Long.
It was the decision of Sterling, who decided on certain changes before the biggest match in his career. "I called Alja as soon as I found out I wouldn't be in his corner. I felt stupid for calling him before and leaving him a nice message.
And then I get a call from Long who asked me, 'How come you're not in his corner? it's your team. 'I just said,' Well, explain it to me, '"Serra began this topic in the UFC Unfiltered podcast. "I didn't want to play with his head before the fight, so I didn't attack him for that decision.
I just called him and left him a message saying, 'I love you and I'm here if you need me.' At one point he sent me a message and said he would call me but I haven't heard from him in three days." "I don't want to be hypersensitive but how do you think I slept through that night? I'm just hurt.
I know he's busy and everything's going on but I have to know what the hell is to do. "
Instead of Serra, Sterling chose Eric Nicksick, a coach from Xtreme Couture Hall with whom he spent part of the preparations for this match.
Matt, as he says, fully understands that Aljamain needed the help of new people in this time of pandemic and difficult working conditions, but he did not expect such a move. "I have nothing against Eric Nicksick, he's a good guy who's not at all to blame for Aljo coming to him.
But ... Are you really going to have a guy in the corner who you've been working with for three months and I've spent seven years with you?" "If you want it, then I understand. I just can't avoid that feeling of lack of respect.
Since he joined the UFC, you can say I missed one of his sparring matches in seven years. I love everyone involved in this story, but after certain decisions there are consequences." "I also understand that no one wanted to say anything because they didn't want to disturb his peace before the fight, but at the same time, I would have behaved differently if I had been in his position.
" Shortly after explaining why we didn’t watch him in Sterling’s Corner, the former UFC welterweight champion announced that we would no longer watch him as a ‘cornerman’. "Maybe it's best to retire at the highest level.
I'll always be in his corner, I just won't be physically present. And that wasn't my choice. So I'm withdrawing from that whole 'cornerman' story," Serra concluded.