Aljamain Sterling moved to defend himself after being criticized for his relationship with controversial social media star Andrew Tate. The UFC bantamweight champion will defend his belt against TJ Dillashaw in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Ahead of UFC 280 he was pictured with the controversial kickboxer and social media star in Dubai. Tate has been banned from nearly every online platform due to his extremist views and Sterling faced a backlash after posting this Tweet:

History of hate

The former kickboxer was once kicked off Big Brother when previous homophobic and racist comments came to light. He has infamously stated in the past that rape victims should ‘should take some personal responsibility’.

Sterling was asked about the backlash and whether he condoned Tate’s comments. He is adamant that he doesn’t and believes there has been a misunderstanding,

“So I quote-tweeted somebody that said what everybody else was saying that they were coming down on me for, and I was agreeing with the tweet and I said, ‘you’re right. I 100% agree with you that Andrew Tate should not ever say that it is the responsibility of a victim’. So people that were coming at me were completely wrong, and I was trying to explain that you misread the tweet and then they would show me the same tweet, and I would say you’re not understanding what I’m saying. You’re misreading the tweet, because I’m quoting and I’m agreeing. I am on your side.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Aljamain Sterling (@funkmastermma)

Large family

Sterling sounded upset at being accused of supporting Tate but still found time to get in a jab at bantamweight rival T.J. Dillashaw who he faces at UFC 280,

“I think people are really crazy, and I think that’s the problem with the world today We are so quick to condemn people instead of actually giving people a chance to reason and analyze what people are saying (instead of) assuming and just making a judgment and being completely wrong That’s just the world that we live in today. I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon.  With that said, hopefully T.J. Dillashaw moves the needle this weekend at UFC 280.”

Sterling went onto further justify his actions by discussing his own family. The bantamweight champion claims to have at least 14 sisters,

“I have 14 plus sisters, I love my mom. I would never tell my mom that if anything like that happened to them that ‘It’s your fault’. That’s just the craziest thing to ever say to anybody. That’s like, if you’re in the hood, and you’re walking down a nice neighborhood or something and you’re a person of color and you get shot because you have a hoodie on that I’m telling you it’s your fault because you’re walking down the street. That doesn’t even make any sense. Why would I ever blame the victim? It’s the person that’s not taking the time to understand.”

It is all an unwanted distraction for Sterling who will be defending his bantamweight belt in Abu Dhabi at UFC 280. Having attracted to much controversy during fight week he will be looking forwards to returning to the slightly simpler business of fighting.