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Aljamain Sterling’s coach ‘has no knowledge’ of Sean O’Malley contract despite hasty UFC 292 announcement from Dana White


Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and Professional Fighters League (PFL) were the talk of the mixed martial arts (MMA) town on Tuesday after “The Predator” announced a game-changing contract for the promotion’s “Super Fight” division.

As you might expect, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White had no intention of letting Ngannou and PFL command the spotlight for any length of time and quickly countered their big news with some blockbuster announcements of his own.

It’s like the old days of counter-programming for the Twitter age.

There’s just one little problem.

The “official” headliner for UFC 292 on Aug. 19 in Boston, which pits reigning bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling against No. 2-ranked title contender Sean O’Malley, was somehow booked without the knowledge of Sterling’s longtime coach, Ray Longo.

That means UFC rushed the announcement for the purpose of trumping Ngannou and PFL, or “Funk Master” went rogue (wouldn’t be the first time) and signed his own contract without any dialogue with his team.

Possible? Sure. Plausible? Probably not.

“Ray Longo, Sterling’s longtime coach, exclusively told CBS Sports that Longo has no knowledge of a confirmed fight between Sterling and O’Malley,” reporter Shakiel Mahjouri wrote on Wednesday.

Sterling has been adamant about making his next title defense in September and told The MMA Hour on Monday that he’s still waiting for X-rays to determine when and where he’ll be able to return to active competition.

“Who could possibly like that? I don’t think that’s right,” Longo told Mahjouri about the promotion’s hasty announcement. “It’s a way of putting pressure on fighters. You heard O’Malley after the fight saying. ‘Quick as possible.’ Smart. Who the f**k is he to dictate anything?”

No doubt “Suga” wants Sterling — not far removed from his grueling Henry Cejudo title defense at UFC 288 in Newark — before he’s fully rested and healed.

The promotion has a spotty record when it comes to announcing “official” fights. White recently went live with a dubious announcement regarding the UFC 290 fight card, insisting this former champion was competing when in reality, he was already removed from his previous weight class.

No word yet from Sterling on whether or not he plans to commit to UFC 292.




This story originally appeared on MMA Mania

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