UFC Middleweight Champion Sean Strickland has sparked controversy with his recent homophobic remarks during an interview in Toronto ahead of UFC 297.
The incident occurred when MMA journalist Alex Lee from MMA Fighting, a sister site of Outsports, questioned Strickland about his previous comments regarding his hypothetical reaction to having a gay son.
Strickland, known for his blunt and often contentious remarks, began the interview by questioning Lee’s political affiliations and personal sexual orientation. Lee, who is not gay, was asked by Strickland about his views on having a gay child. Upon Lee expressing acceptance, Strickland responded aggressively, accusing Lee of being “part of the problem” and using profanity against him.
The conversation escalated as Strickland accused Lee of being an “infection” and blamed him for “everything that is wrong with the world.” These statements, targeting a journalist for simply posing questions, highlight an alarming level of hostility and homophobia rarely seen in public discourse.
Lee, reflecting on the encounter, emphasised his responsibility to the LGBTQ+ community in Toronto, a city with a strong LGBTQ+ presence, and expressed discomfort with the attitudes of some fighters towards LGBTQ+ issues, noting that Strickland’s views were particularly extreme.
This incident raises concerns about the UFC’s stance on LGBTQ+ issues, given that the organisation has several openly gay and lesbian athletes. The UFC has yet to respond to Strickland’s inflammatory comments.