Sean Strickland UFC Screen grab: MMA Junkie

Former UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland has quickly become one of the more popular athletes in all of mixed martial arts. But just as quickly, he has become a headache for the UFC due to his controversial antics in press conferences in recent years.

Strickland has consistently shown over the years that he has absolutely zero filter. Whether it be discussing the current state of affairs in the United States, the LGBTQ community, or a general rhetoric of “alpha-male” ideologies, Strickland has always shown that he is more than willing to speak his mind, regardless of the backlash he may receive.

Even the biggest advocates for Strickland would likely admit that Strickland has crossed several lines in the past. So much so, that the UFC was recently revealed to have held a PR meeting to address some of Strickland’s comments ahead of a recent fight.

In the new documentary Fight Inc: Inside the UFC airing on Roku this past week, a portion of a behind-the-scenes PR meeting was shown discussing Strickland’s pre-fight comments ahead of his fight last year against Abusupiyan Magomedov.

Ahead of the fight, Strickland said that women being allowed to vote is what is f***** up” about the United States, and also called including Germans “stupid”, and Brazilians “dirty”.

The clip from Episode Two of Fight Inc: Inside the UFC showed UFC Senior Vice President of Communications Lenee Breckenridge discussing Strickland’s comments with Public Relations Senior Manager Christoph Goessing.

“First off, I would love to give a little recap of Sean Strickland,” said Breckenridge.

“Yeah, he had a long speech about not allowing women to vote anymore and that it’s the reason the country is going downhill,” responded Goessing. “A couple of choiced comments about Germany, America, and Brazil as it relates to his opponent. I mean, it was about 28 minutes of unadulterated Sean Strickland. He just says it all.”

Breckenridge was then seen thanking Goessing for the recap and walking away.

It’s particularly fascinating just how nonchalant these two were about Strickland’s comments. Particularly because of just how many people he attacked in the lead-up to that fight.

That’s really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Strickland. So there are surely many other PR meetings regarding Strickland that have gone on that weren’t captured.

Despite all of this, UFC President Dana White has assured Strickland, and all other fighters, in the past that he will not “censor” them on what they say during press conferences.

“I don’t give anybody a leash,” said White back in January after Strickland’s homophobic comments. “A leash? Free speech. Control what people say, going to tell people what to believe, tell people…I don’t f***ing tell any other human being what to say, what to think. There’s no leashes on any of them.”

If White maintains that he will allow Strickland and others to say whatever is on their mind, he could find himself and his company landing in hot water sooner or later. Particularly because the UFC is going to be looking to re-up their broadcast rights deal with ESPN, or potentially other suitors in the very near future.

[MMA Orbit on X, Fight Inc: Inside the UFC on Roku]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.