MMA Odds and Ends for Friday: Sterling Discusses Leaving MMA Behind

Aljamain Sterling is one of the brightest prospects in the UFC right now, but he may not be for long. Sterling posted on his facebook page yesterday that he feels his “shot” to make it big in MMA may be slipping through his fingers even though he is still just 26 years old. He sent out some similar tweets as well.

Conventional wisdom wouldn’t even have Sterling reaching his peak as a fighter for another few years, but it sounds like the New York native isn’t willing to wait that long if things don’t pick up. Sterling debuted in the UFC in February of 2014, and fought twice in his first five months with the promotion. Since then, he has only fought once however, and currently has no upcoming fight booked. The sparse schedule, difficulty getting fights, and amount he’s been compensated for the fights he has had all seem to be contributing factors to Sterling’s assertion that MMA simply may not be a financially viable career choice. When a fighter ranked sixth in his division is concerned with his financial stability, and the organization he fights for isn’t able to get him in the cage with anybody, there are serious issues. The bantamweight has talked about returning to school to pursue his education. While he doesn’t regret his choice to pursue MMA, he is clearly disappointed with where his career stands at this point. As an MMA fan, I’m disappointed in the financial system the sport has in place that it could push such a talented and promising fighter away. MMA is already far from the first choice for most elite athletes, so it needs to capitalize on the ones it can attract. In many cases, that can be difficult if fighters are bouncing around in regional promotions to start their career, but in a situation like Sterling’s, the UFC should be trying to build him into a fighter who can be a star for them, as he certainly has all the necessary attributes. It will be interesting to see how Sterling’s career plays out moving forward, and if we see more fighters leave (or openly discuss leaving) MMA to pursue other interests. The other news from Thursday came at the Bellator weigh-ins, as one fight ended up being scrapped on the scales. Ryan Couture weighed in under the lightweight limit at 155.5lbs, but his opponent Nick Gonzalez wouldn’t even have made weight for a welterweight bout, as he came in at 172.75. With such a massive difference, the fight was removed from the card all together. Couture will likely be rebooked in short order, while Gonzalez probably gets his walking papers from Bellator for such an egregious miscue. Everyone else made weight for the card, and the removal will not affect the TV broadcast, as it was set to take place on the prelims anyways. Bellator 143 starts tonight at 6:30pm ET on, and then moves over to Spike TV at 9pm ET for the main card. Former two-division Bellator champion Joe Warren headlines the show against L.C> Davis.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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