Petr Yan put his UFC bantamweight title on the line against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259. Yan seemingly had the upper hand in the fight, but was disqualified after landing a knee to Sterling’s head while the latter was down on the mat.
In round four, Sterling was trying to score a takedown and had a knee on the mat when he received a vicious knee to the head from Yan.
The fight was waved off, Petr Yan was disqualified, and Sterling was declared the winner via DQ (disqualification) and the new UFC bantamweight champion.
On an edition of Beyond the Fight released on his official YouTube channel, Chael Sonnen explained how TJ Dillashaw could use the situation to his advantage and secure a title fight against Aljamain Sterling.
“You had three licensed officials, three licensed personnel tonight – A fighter who cheated, one of only two rules you can’t do – Allegedly, emphasis on that, a cornerman who told him to do it – And ultimately, a referee who couldn’t make the decision to call it and wanted to turn to a fighter who’s down, who’s laying down and rolling like this. And you’ve got a referee trying to ask, ‘Hey, what do you wanna do? Tell me what to do. Should I let the fight keep going?’ This is insane. And you have the Commission (Nevada State Athletic Commission) sitting there, doing nothing about it.
"And by the way, if I am TJ Dillashaw, I ain’t letting this go. And I don’t have a whole lot of time, but I’m not letting it go. You’re telling me that, TJ Dillashaw, I don’t get to fight for the title? Why, because I cheated? Okay. And you’re saying that Petr Yan has to fight for a title next. Why, because he cheated? What? What! I don’t get a title fight. He’s guaranteed one. I don’t get it because I cheated. I served a suspension. I had tremendous punishment. He’s guaranteed one because he cheated. Somebody’s got to explain this to me.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Furthermore, Chael Sonnen cited other examples of fouls and their consequences in combat sports by referencing Mike Tyson's "bite fight" and Victor Ortiz head-butting Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Sonnen pointed out that these cases were properly investigated, and the fighters who broke the rules were dealt the deserved punishment.
Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling, and TJ Dillashaw continue their quest for dominance in the UFC bantamweight division
The MMA community's consensus is that Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling are likely to compete in an immediate rematch later this year to ensure that a clear winner emerges.
In 2019, TJ Dillashaw tested positive for EPO in the pre and post-fight drug tests for his UFC flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw was handed a two-year suspension from January 19, 2019, to January 19, 2021.
Presently, TJ Dillashaw is eligible to return to professional MMA competition and has been lobbying for a shot at the UFC bantamweight title. What are your views on the UFC bantamweight title picture? Sound off in the comments.