The anticipated showdown between Strickland and Du Plessisis scheduled for Saturday, January 20th, at UFC 297, set to unfold at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario.
Whittaker, sharing his insights on the ‘MMArcade Podcast,’ expressed his belief that the scuffle between Strickland and Du Plessis appeared orchestrated, perhaps as a promotional tactic to heighten anticipation for their upcoming bout in the new year.
Robert Whittaker Questions Legitimacy of Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis Brawl
“I thought it was staged, mate, honestly. Because it was weird. It was weird the way it happened. You saw the way Strickland was like, ‘Move aside, please.’ Makes sense, but then he jumps in like WWE style. The way he was punching, the way he was kind of like, I don’t know, fake punching to the back of Dricus. Maybe it was just for entertainment, and in which case, you can’t really give him anything for it. I don’t know. It’s a bit silly. He’s the champ. It was a weird little scuffle, I am gonna say,” shared Whittaker.
While expressing his skepticism about the legitimacy of the brawl, Whittaker also addressed Strickland’s comments about him during a press conference. Downplaying the significance of the verbal exchange, Whittaker stated, “I also heard him talking smack about me in the press conference. I don’t think it was smack talk, to be honest. He just off-commented how — downplayed my abilities. I don’t expect him to pump tires, to be honest, and yeah, I don’t think I’m as one-dimensional as he says. I think my blitz is a strong part of my game, but I got other tricks.”
In a balanced assessment, Whittaker concluded by acknowledging that while he may not harbor a particular liking for Strickland, he doesn’t hold animosity either. He characterized Strickland as someone who is holistically against everyone, expressing a certain indifference to the fighter’s unique demeanor.
Whittaker Talks Stricklands Smack Talk
“It was nothing really. I’m not gonna say I like him, but I don’t hate him because he’s kind of holistically against everybody, you know what I mean? He’s holistically rude. He’s not singling out certain people or genres or races or colors, he’s just kinda tellin’ off everyone. Being rude to everyone. I don’t hate that. But I don’t know, I think that fight looked a little staged. Staged on Strickland’s behalf, I don’t think Dricus got the memo,” concluded Whittaker.
Whittaker, having last competed in July at UFC 290, where he suffered a TKO defeat against Du Plessis, has set his sights on a potential matchup against Paula Costa at UFC 299 in March 2024. However, there has yet to be a response from Costa’s camp regarding the proposed bout.
As the dust settles from the UFC 296 incident, the question remains: Do you agree with Robert Whittaker that the entire ‘brawl’ was ‘staged’ for publicity purposes? The intricacies of fight promotion often blur the lines between authenticity and showmanship, leaving fans and fighters alike to decipher the true motivations behind such dramatic confrontations.
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images