Sean Strickland chides Jon Anik, defends ‘savage’ UFC fans

Sean Strickland continues to sell himself as the people’s champion of the UFC.

The former UFC middleweight champion on Friday came to the defense of MMA fans after longtime UFC commentator Jon Anik expressed displeasure with the hostility he encountered from those who disagreed that Dricus du Plessis beat Strickland at UFC 297. Anik said he considered covering the NFL instead of MMA as a result of the backlash.

Whereas several active UFC fighters and industry vets came to Anik’s defense, Strickland chided the UFC employee for not being grateful to the promotion’s fan base, using an expletive to describe them.

“What I’d say to Jon Anik calling mma fans ‘the lowest common denominator,’” Strickland wrote on X. “These people are way you have a paycheck, and you make way more than most. … Maybe the NFL is a better choice for you than MMA. ….Also you guys are a bunch of savage c****. I’m here for it…..”

After losing a unanimous decision to du Plessis, Strickland initially congratulated his opponent before doing an about-face where he blamed the outcome on a headbutt from the South African fighter late in the five-round fight. Du Plessis said he didn’t remember landing such a strike during the bout.

Media scores for the UFC 297 headliner were split down the middle on who won the fight, while UFC CEO Dana White scored the bout for Strickland. A wave of Strickland fans blasted the decision and those who agreed with it, which included Anik.

In an impassioned response to the vitriol he received, Anik wrote he had observed “a lot of malice and disrespect” from MMA fans as of late, and the level of it he encountered about the UFC 297 outcome had him reconsidering his desire to stay in the industry.

“Those of you suggesting that there’s any bias, or you don’t like me, well, you’ll probably get your f****** wish come 2026 because honestly, at this point, I’ve had it,” Anik said.

Anik’s startling honesty prompted an outpouring of support from industry vets who praised the UFC commentator’s skills on the microphone and urged him not to step away.

Anik later thanked UFC vet (and regular Fighter vs. Writer co-host) Matt Brown and others for stepping to his defense.

Strickland was the obvious fan favorite heading into UFC 297, gathering a raucous response from fans at the press conference, including one who rushed the stage simply to shake his hand. After promising to stab du Plessis over comments made about his abusive past, he buried the hatchet with the then-title challenger.

White downplayed controversy Strickland sparked prior to the fight with blatantly homophobic remarks, again painting the leading MMA promotion as a bastion of free speech where fighters wouldn’t be censored for what they said.

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