Chris Curtis: Sean Strickland doing well after UFC 297 loss, fighting ‘doesn’t define him as a person’

Chris Curtis doesn’t want anyone worrying about Sean Strickland.

The friends and training partners both had fights at UFC 297, but only Curtis walked out with his hand raised after a split call on the scorecards. Curtis won a decision over Marc-Andre Barriault on the main card, while Strickland headlined the event, narrowly losing his middleweight title on points to Dricus du Plessis.

But according to Curtis, Strickland is already putting the loss behind him, something that Curtis thinks he should do more often.

“Something I’ll say about Sean that I wish I could adopt—I always say there’s not much I would take from Sean, we’re very different people—but something I wish I could adopt is his view on fighting,” Curtis said on The MMA Hour. “I am very much so, ‘Chris the fighter.’ It’s who I am, it’s how I see myself, and I think that’s kind of an issue of mine to where it’s hard to differentiate myself from what I do. It’s just what I am.

“Sean loves fighting, but Sean Strickland is not, ‘Sean the fighter.’ Fighting is something he loves, but this isn’t who he is, this doesn’t define him as a person. He’s disappointed, yeah it sucks, whatever, but he’s not going to beat himself up on it. He’s been hitting me up since yesterday about snowboarding tomorrow. ‘Let’s go snowboarding, let’s do this,’ blah blah blah. If the roles were reversed, I’d be in a dark hole somewhere contemplating everything that’s gone wrong. He’s like, ‘Alright, it sucks. Whatever. We’ll figure it out later. Let’s go do stuff.’ So he’s handling it well. At this point in his life, he’s achieved more than anyone ever thought he would. He’s got a boatload of money, and he’s got people who care about him. He’s doing well.”

Still, Curtis isn’t letting his friend off the hook completely.

Though Strickland has developed a reputation for staying true to his often offensive beliefs while becoming a star with the UFC, Curtis wanted to expose at least one major change in Strickland’s life that few could have predicted.

“Don’t let him talk his BS about never changing – my man bought a Tesla, and I have shamed him every day for it,” Curtis said. “Besides the Tesla thing, which I find actually hilarious, he’s the same fella he’s always been. He’s just as cheap as he’s always been. He is, for better or worse, he’s always going to be Sean Strickland. He’s exactly the same guy. He’s still Sean, he just drives a Tesla now, and I will never not make fun of that.”

Curtis’ victory at UFC 297 was much-needed after a recent no-contest and a loss that were both affected by an accidental clash of heads. His win over Barriault was his first since December 2022.

Following his fight, Curtis made sure to tune in to the main event and, unsurprisingly, he scored the fight for his teammate.

Curtis pointed out that the judges were possibly swayed by an early cut to Strickland’s face that bled for the majority of the bout, a factor that he feels could have been weighed more heavily than it should have been.

“I had it 3-2 Sean,” Curtis said. “I think the blood was a big factor in judges’ scoring. This is going to sound disrespectful as f*** but I think a lot of times judges get smooth-brained when they see blood. Sean says it was a head clash, someone else says it was a punch that cut him, so that’s where I’m like what caused it? Because if it’s a punch, s**** whatever, but you lose that round. If it’s a head clash, that’s even f****** worse, I know that. But the thing is once you start bleeding-the weird thing about blood is this: Let’s pretend I get cut in the second round, you throw a punch that cuts in the second round, lots of blood, nothing else happens, you get scored that on damage, right? You did more damage. That should only conceivably be scored that round for damage. Round 3, the damage from Round 2 does not count. It’s scored round by round.

“I think a lot of judges have a hard time differentiating if you’re still bleeding heavily in Round 3, like, ‘Oh, he’s still damaged.’ Yes, he’s damaged, but you don’t score the next round’s blood on what happened before. I think a lot of times, unfortunately, blood does sway a lot of opinions. I think in rounds that were close, I think the fact that Sean ended up looking worse on the eye test just because of the blood at the end may have worked against him.”

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