Petr Yan calls Aljamain Sterling ‘fake champion’ in response to claims of not being COVID-19 vaccinated

petr yan, ufc 273
Jun 23, 2018; Singapore, Singapore; Petr Yan (blue gloves) celebrates beating Teruto Ishihara (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night Singapore at Singapore Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Miller-USA TODAY Sports

Petr Yan claims Aljamain Sterling is lying about assertions that the Russian’s lack of being vaccinated against COVID-19 was the cause of their planned title fight being pushed back a month.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the scheduled bantamweight title unification bout between Sterling (20-3) and Yan (16-2) would not be happening at UFC 272, as originally planned. Instead, it was moved back a month to April and will serve as the co-main event of UFC 273. A card headlined by a featherweight matchup fight pitting champion Alexander Volkanovski vs Chan Sung Jung.

When the news first broke, there was no specific reason for why the UFC 259 rematch — which has taken a year to make — was switched from March to April. That is until “Funkmaster” took to his Instagram account and posted a video detailing what he was told by UFC brass was the reason for the change in date. And he claims it had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the COVID vaccination status of his opponent.

Aljamain Sterling claims Petr Yan’s COVID vaccination status led to fight date change

“I know you guys have probably seen some of the news, but yes they are talking about pushing our fight back to April. Not because of me. This is what I was told, that Yan isn’t vaccinated so he can’t fight in March. ‘I’m Yan, and I’m not vaccinated so I can’t fight in March.’ I actually respect his gangsta. If this is the real reason, I actually respect his stance,” Sterling said.

“But it doesn’t make any sense, and I’m making fun of it because was he gonna be vaccinated in April? I don’t think so, so what are we doing? I just want to know when we’re fighting because, dude, it’s about time we get to punch each other in the face,” he continued. “So hopefully, we can figure this out sooner rather than later. And we can unify these belts and see who’s really the guy.”

It’s not surprising that Sterling would want to get out in front of the news on another date change for their rematch. Their second clash was originally set for October, but a slow recovery from neck surgery scrapped the bout, and the New Yorker has taken a lot of heat for being unable to defend his newly won belt for the last year.

That is on top of the negativity he’s received from detractors for months after he was awarded the 135-pound title by disqualification. Yan nailed Sterling with an illegal knee while down in a bout he was running away with.

Yan calls Sterling a ‘pathetic liar’ and declares he is vaccinated

Following Sterling’s claims, “No Mercy” fired back on Twitter. Calling his rival a “pathetic liar” and proclaiming that he is, in fact, vaccinated. He then gave his opinion on why the bout was moved, and the interim champion says it’s because the promotion does not feel Sterling is worthy of a PPV main event slot.

“Pathetic liar desperately trying to look good and control the narrative but it won’t work. I’m vaccinated and ready to bash you anywhere even tomorrow. UFC simply doesn’t want fake champion to headline the event,” Yan wrote.

Who is your pick for the highly anticipated rematch between Yan and Sterling?

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