Earlier this year, the UFC found themselves in the midst of a free agency dilemma. It seemed that the free agents were piling up and paying them all what they want didn’t seem to be an option. While we watched Rory MacDonald and Benson Henderson walk away, Aljamain Sterling got welcomed back into the fold with a shiny new contract. Many excused this choice as the cheaper of the two options or the fact that Sterling has a fun style for all types of viewer. However, in an exclusive interview with Top Turtle MMA Podcast, Sterling revealed another possible reason.
“Being where I’m from and growing up in the neighborhood I grew up in, the majority of it being a Hispanic and black town, I appeal to the African-American community in terms of the hip hop culture.”
The idea that he is not only meeting a race demographic (as he did clarify it was not just a race thing), but also a cultural demographic seems to play into the UFC’s expansion plan. As they’ve moved to other countries they’ve tried to bring other cultures to their product. It would stand to reason that they would also be trying to capitalize on all of the differences even within our diverse country. And Sterling feels that he is really one of the few that fit this particular mold.
“I don’t think you have any fighters that who are like me in terms of [hip hop culture]… Who’s appealing to the guys who listen to ScHoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar? There’s nobody really who’s like that within the culture that can be a face of that demographic”
To hear the rest of the interview with Sterling and his takes on this issue as well as his upcoming fight and more, listen below. (Interview starts at 32:45)