Sean Strickland’s discipline called into question following sparring KO video
Sean Strickland is no doubt a talented fighter, but his antics outside of the octagon have been the focus of a career more often than not.
Having admitted to going through a “weird neo-Nazi, white supremacist phase” when he was younger, Strickland realised that anger was his big issue.
“I was just so angry, and I had a lot of f*cked up influences in my life, that it felt so good to f*cking hate something,” said Strickland to MMA Fighting.
“I would walk down the street with just a knife or like a rock hoping to kill somebody and when I started training I realized, ‘Man, you’re just f*cking angry.’”
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Strickland said he felt ashamed as he grew older, realising what he had been saying and doing in his youth and claimed that his rough childhood wasn’t a valid reason to carry on that path.
Beginning to train in MMA acted as a life-changing experience for Strickland as he said, “I remember crying after I got done sparring.
“Even when I think about it, it makes my eyes water. I don’t think I ever really experienced happiness until that day.
“You’ve got to understand, you live your whole life in a certain mindset, and then you do something and then you’re just like, ‘F*ck dude, this is what it feels like. This is what normal people experience. I f*cking love this.’”
Lmao did I come on too strong??? Yes this man is in the UFC lol pic.twitter.com/QVOMVj6P6p
— Sean Strickland (@SStricklandMMA) January 5, 2022
Strickland’s current reputation isn’t as dramatic as his ‘white supremacist phase’ but still draws a lot of attention for his straight to the point comments that often come across in the wrong way, according to his coach, Eric Nicksick.
“You want to have competition in the training room. Now, Sean’s delivery is never the best,” said Nicksick to MMA Fighting in a separate interview.
“He doesn’t deliver things, like, nicely to people, but when you boil things down, the way Sean talks to his teammates or some of the people in the room, it’s really because he cares and he wants to get the best out of you.”
“I know it sounds weird to say but a lot of times he’ll ride certain fighters in the gym and he’s riding them because he sees more potential out of them than they’re giving themselves. So understanding that, Sean Strickland, he’s going to tell you how he feels.
“He’s going to be real all the time. I think it’s kind of a breath of fresh air because in this day and age, you don’t get that a lot.”
Strickland’s behaviour and comments have been called into question a lot lately but the most recent of which came in the form of his discipline in the gym.
Sean Strickland knocks his sparring partner out with a head kick 😳 pic.twitter.com/dRbjFQ5RWJ
— AquaMMA💎🦆 (@AquaMMA___) January 5, 2022
Strickland’s recent sparring knockout has garnered a lot of attention and most of it is bad. Strickland’s gym discipline had previously come into question as coach Nicksick admitted that he had to sit him down and lay out some ground rules.
“We sat down and went over some ground rules on the standard for the gym, and the team,” said Nicksick in his MMA Fighting interview.
“We’re going to let you be you but you have to meet the standard and follow our rules as well and we’re not going to butt any heads. He’s been great. He’s been absolutely great since then.”
A love of sparring
While the video was then posted to Strickland’s Instagram and then deleted, Strickland’s love of going hard in training won’t have come as a surprise to Nicksick.
“That dude will literally spar anybody in our gym. He calls Francis (Ngannou) out every sparring session.
“He loves to spar Francis because he goes ‘I want to feel as close to death as possible and I want to have that fear of God in my heart every time I spar a guy like Francis Ngannou.’ So sure, we throw him in there and let him get some rounds with Francis.
“The rounds between him and Sean are actually very competitive. Sean gets in there and gets after it and Francis will entertain him if you will and not knock him out. There’s some great rounds and credit to Sean, not everybody is champing at the bit to hop in the cage with Francis.”
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A former teammate defends Strickland
Chael Sonnen was one man who immediately came to the defence of Strickland, saying that Strickland was one of the best teammates he’s ever had.
“Sean is back in the news. He was sparring and knocked out a training partner. I have to defend Sean.
“Sean was one of the most trustable and best teammates I’ve ever had. I trusted him completely with my body.
“He went very hard and was very competitive trying to win rounds but he was very controlled and whether it was me or whoever his other partners were, he never hurt anybody.”
Sonnen believes the KO was an unfortunate incident and that he doesn’t like Strickland getting such a bad reputation from it.
“I have to defend him in that video. That was an unfortunate incident but Sean was padded up and he did throw that kick appropriately…
“I don’t like the idea of Sean getting a bad rap. He’s a trustable, hard-working, honest guy and he’ll come back tomorrow and the day after that.”