‘Right in the guts’: UFC headliner punches fan in shock Bondi street assault

Sean Strickland, sometime on Sunday morning, hit a UFC fan on the streets of Bondi Junction.

“Boom, right in the guts,” he says.

“I’d only been in Australia a day and already I’d committed an assault.”

Doesn’t shy away from it, either.

“Initially, I thought the guy was coming up for a photo,” continues the man who was raised a white supremacist, reckons women belong in kitchens and has spoken openly, and more than once, of wanting a kill – either, inside the cage or out of it.

Order UFC 293 Sydney: Adesanya v Strickland, Tuivasa v Volkov. Sun 10 Sept. Main Event on Kayo Sports

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Oh yeah, Strickland is also the man now set to headline UFC 293 in Sydney this Sunday.

The first fight in a new $16 million State government deal which sees him, at Qudos Bank Arena, facing one of the greatest fighters now, and arguably ever – UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya.

Apart from being among the most dangerous fighters anywhere on the planet, Adesanya also boasts a growing legion of fans which, on Instagram alone, number 8.3 million.

One of whom approached Strickland on that Bondi street last Saturday and said: ‘Izzy is gunna f… you up’.

So Strickland, without hesitation, whacked him.

“Because anybody who wants a photo, man, I love the fans,” he told Fox Sports Australia on Tuesday.

“But if you wanna come up to me and run your f…ing mouth, I’ll smack you like I smack anybody else.”

Which he did

“Uppercut to his stomach,” he grins.

“Then I walked away. But if I see the guy again, man, no problems … I’ll thank him for not pressing charges.”

Order UFC 293 Sydney: Adesanya v Strickland, Tuivasa v Volkov. Sun 10 Sept. Main Event on Kayo Sports

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All of which goes some way to explaining why Strickland wasn’t invited to the first public event of fight week on Tuesday morning – a ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve.

And why, according to Adesanya, UFC executives were concerned about having him fly all the way Down Under to an event funded heavily by the NSW Government.

Regardless, the big fella is here.

And days out from his fight, already throwing down.

Which is at least a slightly different twist to ‘The Great Boomerang Incident of 2017’, right?

Back when, before another UFC event in Sydney, American fighter Colby Covington was assaulted on George Street by Brazilian heavyweight Fabricio Werdum – who whacked him over the head with, of all things, a souvenir boomerang.

“And Colby Covington deserved it,” Strickland shrugged.

“Colby is one of those C…s who, he’s fake.

“Everything about him, it’s this fictitious character he created to make money.

“And look, we all do it. There is an element of WWE in fighting.

“But Colby is a soulless, spineless man who would f…ing sell his arse if it made him a dollar.

“Everything he says is fraudulent.

“Like that time he attacked Jorge Masvidal’s family, assaulted them … and then when Jorge comes and cracks you, you press charges.

“You are the definition of a weak man, Colby.

“And you’re a definition of the weak society we’re going to.”

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But as for Adesanya?

“Izzy is authentic,” Strickland said. “He paints his nails, is very authentic to what he is.

“He’s just another guy with a lot of money who is trying to be a superstar.

“He doesn’t give a f… about me, doesn’t give a f… about you, doesn’t give a f… about the world.

“I was in the airport once and took a picture with some guy and he thanked me. He said ‘man, I just did the same with Izzy and he was such an a. hole, he wouldn’t even shake my hand’.

“People care about the perception we give off.

“And the perception Izzy gives off is that he’s a superstar.

“He’s stuck up.

“I’ve heard people inside of the (UFC) organisation say, out of the organisation.

“People like me because I’m authentic.

“I don’t wear a pearl necklace. I don’t drive a BMW.

“I don’t wear designer clothes.

“So people like me because I represent them.

“People don’t like Izzy because he thinks he’s better than everyone else – the way he dresses, the way he talks, the way he acts.

“If Izzy could learn anything from me it’s get off your high horse, people will like you a bit better.”

Adesanya will tell you he is being authentic.

“And I think he is being authentic,” Strickland says.

“He just f…ing sucks, man.”

Still, the champ has his fans. As we evidenced on that Bondi street last Saturday.

“And we live in a world now where so many people run their mouths online, they run their mouths in person, without any repercussions whatsoever,” Strickland said.

“But in America we had this president Andrew Jackson, he’s copped some heat for being a questionable president but I f…ing love the guy.

“Somebody implied once the guy’s wife was a whore. Just implied it.

“He duelled him to death.”

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