Why was Sean Strickland in jail? How ‘Tarzan’ joined a white supremacy group in prison at 18 to ensure survival - All you should know

Sean Strickland went to jail during his teenage days [Image via: @stricklandmma on Instagram]
Sean Strickland went to jail during his teenage days [Image via: @stricklandmma on Instagram]

Sean Strickland has become one of the most polarizing figures in MMA due to his willingness to express his uncensored opinions on all topics. Even though many people disagree with him, a substantial chunk of the MMA community has praised the fighter for speaking up.

After a fiercely contested match that could have gone either way against Dricus du Plessis at UFC 297, Strickland lost his middleweight title by split decision. On June 1, he will face No. 7-ranked Paulo Costa at UFC 302.


Why was Sean Strickland in jail?

Several turning points in his life could have led Sean Strickland down a path much darker than expected. Strickland, who beat up two men as a teenager, was charged with a felony in the US at the age of 18 for assault with a deadly weapon, however, he claims his fists were the weapon in this instance.

Last year, during the media day for UFC Vegas 67, the former UFC middleweight champion discussed the aforementioned incident. He began by stating:

“I was arrested, bulls**t charges, but it was two felonies, and I had a lawyer saying, you’re going to jail for like a minimum of three years. I was like 18, 19…”

The American fighter went on to describe his encounters with white supremacists:

''You walk in [to jail], and if you’re white, which you know, I am a white man, the white supremacists come up to you and give you the tour… They say, well, here’s the rules, they help you make your bed. They lay down the rules. Here’s the thing, you can’t go to the bathroom while we're having dinner, and if you shower with a black guy, you gotta fight him…”

Strickland was in a difficult situation. As a young teenager, he was approached by racist white folks seeking to enlist him. He was afraid and had no choice but to join them.

Check out Sean Strickland's comments below (0:25):

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Sean Strickland describes how he had no alternative but to side with white supremacists

While segregation is not a given in every jail or prison, racial groups frequently remain together in prison. Sean Strickland was initially uninterested when white supremacists approached him, but he soon realized he had no other option. He said the following in the aforementioned interview (1:40):

''I’m like, listen, man, I’m not really racist… He goes, let me stop you right now, if you don’t join us, you’re pretty much on your own. You’re kinda f**ked… I walk past the segregation of black cells, and you have all of these Chris Curtis-looking motherf**kers grabbing the bars, threatening me, telling me they are going to f**king kill me… What I’m trying to say is I’m not made for prison.”

After finishing his jail time, the American turned to MMA and now fights under the UFC. Strickland's promotional record is 15-6, with his next fight scheduled for June 1 at UFC 302.

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