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"I felt stupid" - Matt Serra reveals the roundabout way he found out he wasn't cornering Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259

Aljamain Sterling (second from left); Matt Serra (far right)
Aljamain Sterling (second from left); Matt Serra (far right)

Matt Serra has been cornering Aljamain Sterling for most of Sterling’s UFC career. For the past several years, Sterling has trained under the tutelage of Serra and Ray Longo at the world-renowned Serra-Longo Fight Team in Long Island, New York.

However, Aljamain Sterling recently split his training between Serra-Longo on Long Island and Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Sterling trains under Eric Nicksick in Las Vegas. And while Ray Longo, Nicksick, and Sterling’s other corner people were present in Sterling’s corner at UFC 259, Matt Serra was conspicuously absent.

In an edition of the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Matt Serra revealed that it was Aljamain Sterling’s decision to not have Serra in his corner for Sterling’s UFC 259 bantamweight title fight against Petr Yan. Matt Serra stated –

“When I found out I wasn’t in it, I gave Aljo a call. And I felt stupid because I made a call before that and left a nice message. Then I got the call from (Ray) Longo who’s kind of like, ‘What the hell? How are you out of the corner? It’s your team.’ I said you f**king tell me. But at the same time, I don’t want nobody’s head f**ked up before the fight. So, I’m not gonna attack nobody.”

Matt Serra revealed that he left Aljamain Sterling a couple of messages and let Sterling know that Serra was there for him either way. Serra added –

“I told Aljo a few weeks before he left (for Las Vegas) like, ‘Look, man. I know because the COVID s**t is crazy, so if you need to use bodies (for corners) I understand. But when you’ve been with a guy for that long…Now, first of all, he texted me and said, ‘All right, man. I’ll find a quiet spot, and I’ll give you a call.’ Then I didn’t hear from the kid for three days. Listen, I don’t want to be over-sensitive, but how do you think those nights were sleeping? I’m just hurt. I know you’re busy. I know things are going on, but I gotta know what the f**k I’m doing.
“My thing is, going forward, I think it’s better now to make an exit on a high note. I always loved cornering, but what’s going on for the next fight? Is it me and Eric Nicksick doing rock-paper-scissors to see who f**king gets in the corner?
“I’ve got a family. I will always, always, be in this kid’s corner, always – just not physically anymore…And not by my choice, but by the choices that were made here. So I’m just gonna retire altogether from the whole corner thing.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

Matt Serra has suggested that he’s retiring from cornering fighters altogether.

Aljamain Sterling is yet to address the statements put forth by Matt Serra

Aljamain Sterling (left); Petr Yan (right)
Aljamain Sterling (left); Petr Yan (right)

Aljamain Sterling was hit by an illegal knee by Petr Yan in round four of their UFC bantamweight title matchup at UFC 259. Sterling was awarded the win and the title via DQ (disqualification).

The belief is that Aljamain Sterling will defend his title in a rematch against Petr Yan next. The UFC is purportedly looking to book this rematch at the earliest.

Furthermore, as of this time, Aljamain Sterling is yet to address Matt Serra’s statements about Sterling leaving Serra out of his corner.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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