UFC star Sean Strickland launches homophobic rant in press conference interview

A bald man in a UFC ring speaks into a microphone during an arena fight.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Sean Strickland has embarked on a foul-mouthed homophobic and transphobic tirade, during which he called LGBTQ+ allies “weak” and transgender people an “infection.”

The mixed martial artist made the comments on Wednesday (17 January), after being asked by journalist Alexander Lee to address a homophobic statement he made in 2021. Middleweight champion Strickland wrote in a post on Twitter in December of that year that, if he had a gay son, he believed he would have “failed as a man”.

Instead answering the question, Strickland began to insult Lee, asking him if he was gay and whether he voted for Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights.

He then called Lee a “weak f***ing man” and proceeded to go on an unrelated tirade about Trudeau, appearing to refer to a story from 2022 in which the PM promised to crack down on anti-vaccine mandate protests.

“When he seized the bank accounts, like you’re just f***ing pathetic,” Strickland said. “The fact that you have no f***ing backbone as he shut down your f***ing country and seized bank accounts. You ask me some stupid s**t like that. Go f**k yourself, move the f**k on, man. You f***ing coward.”

Sean Strickland thinks being trans is an ‘infection’

Strickland was then asked to address similarly comments he made surrounding the UFC’s decision to accept a sponsorship deal with Bud Light months after a right-wing boycott of the beer brand.

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In a post on Instagram, Strickland said he was going to “fix” Bud Light and thanked the brand for “supporting my platform”.

Strickland claimed he would be “kicked off” Instagram if he were to share his actual views of transgender people. However, he went on to claim that a decade ago, being trans was seen as a “mental f***ing illness” and that he believed it to be an “infection”.

Despite Strickland’s opinions, his home state of California viewed homosexuality and LGBTQ+ identities as fundamentally valid 10 years ago. According to Pew Research polls, 69 per cent of Californians view homosexuality as a valid identity, while trans people are also supported by a majority of the public.

Strickland, however, added that “everything that is wrong with the world” is down to the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.

In a statement following the interaction, Lee admitted being shocked to hear Strickland make the comments, but not surprised. “I come from a city that has a very strong LGBTQ+ community,” he said. “I’ve never been comfortable with a lot of fighters’ stances on LGBTQ+ issues, and he’s been worse than most.

“I felt it was my responsibility… to ask these questions.”

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