Strickland's controversial antics are good for UFC, claims Shamrock

Sean Strickland’s controversial antics are good for the UFC, claims Ken Shamrock, as the MMA icon compares him to Conor McGregor and insists the sport needs ‘characters’ to sell fights   

  • Sean Strickland stunned Israel Adesanya to become UFC middleweight champ
  • He made headlines for breaking his belt and chasing a man with a flamethrower 
  • UFC icon Ken Shamrock backed Strickland and said MMA needs characters 

Sean Strickland’s controversial behaviour is a positive for the UFC, insists MMA legend Ken Shamrock, who insists the sport needs more ‘characters’ like himself and Conor McGregor to sell fights. 

Strickland stunned the sport by taking Adesanya’s middleweight crown last week with a unanimous decision as all judges scored the contest 49-46 in his favour – in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. 

The American is not your conventional champion and has made headlines for some bizarre reasons with a number of outbursts and antics of late. Since winning the belt, he has already broken it and taped it back together again before being seen chasing a man while holding a flamethrower. 

However, UFC hall-of-famer Shamrock believes ‘characters’ are a good thing for the sport as he compared Strickland to Irishman McGregor. ‘Notorious’ has also become renowned for his outlandish comments and fiery rows with opponents before fights.

‘To me, I think that, especially in the world of fighting, you’ve got all kinds of characters and you’ve got to be ready for them,’ he told Inside Fighting. ‘It’s marketing. As long as people want to hate you, or they like you, just as long as they tune in. So it doesn’t matter,’ Shamrock said.

Sean Strickland’s controversial behaviour is a good thing for UFC, claims Ken Shamrock

Shamrock compared Strickland to Conor McGregor and said fighters like these sell fights

The American dethroned Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 in one of the biggest ever shocks  

‘I think McGregor is the perfect example. He crossed the line a few times on things that were a little bit questionable, but it still raises the viewerships. As an owner or as a person promoting fights, you want that, but you’ve got to be able to keep it somewhat under wraps, where it’s not going too far, where you’re hurting people in the process. So, I don’t mind it. 

‘I think everybody has character. Everybody is going to be who they’re going to be, and you have to allow that to a certain point. Trying to make everybody go by the same rulesets when it comes to character is a mistake.’

Strickland was involved in plenty of back-and-forth insults with Adesanya in the build up to the fight, notably goading him for painting his nails, but after beating him in the cage he was nearly lost for words.

Strickland has courted controversy in the past and recently chased a man with a flamethrower 

The new world champ was overcome with emotion in the octagon after the decision was announced and told the crowd, ‘Am I f**king dreaming? Am I going to wake up? Someone hit me!

‘I don’t cry much but I’m trying to keep my s**t together right now.’

Strickland – who was called up as a late replacement for the injured Dricus Du Plessis – survived a comeback of sorts from Adesanya in the second, then took the remaining stanzas of the contest with a brilliant effort that saw him continually pressure his rival and land big shots. 

Adesanya was too emotional to speak more than two sentences at his post-fight press conference, telling the media, ‘Life throws curveballs at you,’ before leaving his coach Eugene Bareman to answer questions. 

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