New UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is no stranger to taking heat from combat sports fans. He was hardly a favorite leading up to his UFC 259 title fight with Petr Yan, and he gained a whole new crowd of rabid haters after Yan illegally kneed him in the head, resulting in a DQ loss and the title changing hands.
Everyone was hoping for a quick turnaround putting Yan back in against Sterling. But now it’s looking like we’ll be waiting until fall at the earliest as Sterling has decided to undergo a neck surgery that he’s been putting off for years.
You may criticize his decision to have the surgery now while the bantamweight title sits around his waist off a disqualification, but you can’t question the severity of the neck injury. Aljamain shared a visit with his surgeon where an x-ray of the injury was shown off.
I have so many emotions on getting this procedure done tomorrow. I’m excited, nervous, grateful, and scared all at the same time! Every fight camp I’ve managed to put a band-aid over my disc herniation and push through the pain to compete for the fans…https://t.co/lAp3qG2O3p pic.twitter.com/MuiHyXOeSk
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) April 15, 2021
“I have so many emotions on getting this procedure done tomorrow,” Sterling wrote on social media. “I’m excited, nervous, grateful, and scared all at the same time! Every fight camp I’ve managed to put a band-aid over my disc herniation and push through the pain to compete for the fans. My first episode was from wrestling in college at SUNY Morrisville.”
“Since then my symptoms have gotten progressively worse. I have pain driving, sleeping, standing, and sitting. Now after my fight with Peanut Butter Pan, I have muscle weakness in my left arm, where I couldn’t even do basic calisthenics to get ready for a June rematch! I think when I let him German Suplex me in Round 1, the camels back broke and that started the muscle weakness.”
“The fight with Yan was an off-night compared the performances beforehand,” he finished. “But I never quit or stopped walking forward and I can live with that. I can’t wait to get rehab started and prove to all the doubters that I am, who I say I am! October can’t come soon enough!!”
In the video, Sterling’s surgeon points out the damaged area on the right side of his spine where the nerves are severely pinched. Honestly, it’s impressive that “Funk Master” has gotten where he has in the extremely competitive 135 pound division with such a messed up neck.
Unsurprisingly, Petr Yan is not happy about the delay, and is calling for Sterling to be stripped. While that’s not happening, you never know when the UFC might decide an interim title might be worth throwing into play.