Aljamain Sterling Explains UFC 296 Ticket Mishap

Aljamain Sterling had some things to say recently. He was talking about why he wasn’t at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for UFC 296 last Saturday.

Sterling and his team were all set for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s final pay-per-view of 2023. But, they were told there were no tickets. The former bantamweight champ didn’t keep quiet about it. He took to social media to air his grievances.

He tweeted, “Sorry to the fans asking to take pictures while we were stuck outside. Just a bit annoyed that we found out our tickets were pulled, after arriving to the arena. #UFC296”.

When asked about the ticket fiasco, UFC president CEO Dana White had his say. He suggested that Sterling might have tried to get tickets through a sponsor. He admitted he didn’t know why they might have been pulled. Sterling had something to say about that on his YouTube channel.

Sterling said, “I’m not trying to fan the flames; I think somewhere there was a little bit of a disconnect. The only thing I didn’t really understand is someone sent me the clip of Dana saying that the tickets were through a sponsor. I don’t know what that was about because I’ve never had tickets from a sponsor for any of the UFC fights, I always go through the same exact channels every single time.”

He added, “This is the first time that that’s actually happened, so that was weird. I don’t know if that’s what someone told him, but no, I actually asked for tickets through the UFC channels and just, unfortunately—The worst part about it was not even the saying ‘no’ part, because obviously it’s a big event. I know a lot of people are coming, they’re spending top dollar. We’re fighters coming in, they comp us for free, especially if there’s a relevant fighter in the weight class. Title fight, Belal Muhammad’s got to be their kind of a thing, obviously Shavkat’s fighting too. There’s fighters that are in the presence of this event that make sense for possible future matchups. So, for me, there really wasn’t anything there, but I just wish either way, regardless, I think I should have been informed a little bit earlier.”

The UFC staff did reach out to Sterling eventually. But by then, he’d already left the venue. He ended up watching the event at a nearby rooftop bar.

Sterling explained, “So, I just tried to do everything the right way and they tried to salvage it later on to go hang out in the lounge, but like I said, I would have hung out in the lounge. I even asked for that before we even left the arena, but by the time anyone got back to us, we were already at the other event, I already opened the tab.”

Sterling’s relationship with the UFC has been a bit rocky. This started when he won the bantamweight title with a disqualification win over Petr Yan. Sterling was dethroned by Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 in August, a matchup he had requested to be delayed but was declined. He then requested a fight with Max Holloway for his featherweight debut, which was also denied.

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