When Sean Strickland criticized coaches for "grooming" female fighters under guise of "weird father role"

UFC 276 Press Conference
When Sean Strickland spoke out against coaches allegedly grooming female fighters [Image courtesy: Getty Images]

Sean Strickland once condemned MMA coaches for purportedly grooming female fighters within the facade of a peculiar paternal role. The former UFC middleweight champion is widely known for forthright and sometimes polarizing views on various social and political matters.

Former UFC women's bantamweight Aspen Ladd's relationship with her coach and boyfriend, Jim West, faced intense public backlash following allegations of grooming during her fight against Norma Dumont at UFC Vegas 40 in October 2021. West's severe tone while reprimanding Ladd between rounds sparked widespread criticism, with many condemning his treatment of her.

In April 2022, 'Tarzan' took to Twitter (now X) and accused male MMA coaches, particularly West and Rose Namajunas' partner, Pat Barry, in a series of posts, of allegedly grooming female fighters from a young age for potential sexual abuse:

"Is Jim West and Pat Berry the [Harvey] Weinstine of MMA? Or is Michael Jackson a better comparison... @netflix is currently contacting @TheAspenLadd and @rosenamajunas for a TV series, lol!!!!! OK, I'm done. Gotta spar."

He added:

"Women are very easy targets for male coaches, automatically assume weird father roles which turn into a hero worship complex. The fact you started to train with him at what 12? 100 percent grooming se*ual predators. Tell me my facts are wrong, and I'll apologize now. @TheAspenLadd."

Check out Sean Strickland's posts below:

Credits: Sean Strickland on X
Credits: Sean Strickland on X

Strickland had often criticized Barry on numerous occasions and even confronted him in person regarding his relationship with the former women's flyweight champion. He alleged that the kickboxing trainer had been dating Namajunas since she was a teenager.

Barry has attributed Strickland's accusations as a contributing factor to 'Thug' losing her title against Carla Esparza at UFC 274 in May 2022.

When Sean Strickland recounted meeting with Jim West amid grooming accusations

In an Instagram post in October 2022, Sean Strickland detailed an encounter with Aspen Ladd's boyfriend, Jim West, outside the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.

'Tarzan' expressed that he was expecting confrontation, but to his surprise, West appeared calm and opted to discuss his relationship with Ladd instead:

"So he comes up to me and is like, 'Well, Sean, I heard what you said, and I was a former detective.’ Like that means f**k all anything, you shady b*stard. 'I did not know Aspen Ladd until she was 18.' And I’m like, 'Yeah, I know, dude. I’m not gonna get into this, but it’s f**king questionable, and I’m still gonna talk sh*t.'"

Strickland went on to dispute West's claims, asserting that Ladd began training at MMA Gold gym at the age of 14 or 15. He also raised doubts about the timing of their romantic involvement, suggesting that it coinciding with Ladd turning 18 seemed suspicious and could be perceived as grooming.

Check out Sean Strickland's comments below:

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