UFC 280’s Bantamweight title fight co-main event didn’t go entirely as many within the mixed martial arts (MMA) community expected it to.
While the champion, Aljamain Sterling, retaining with a victory over T.J. Dillashaw wasn’t a big surprise, the challenger’s apparent shoulder dislocation was. As soon as Sterling hit his first takedown under a minute into the fight, Dillashaw was visibly in pain, wincing with each adjustment on the ground.
Dillashaw revealed right after his second round technical knockout loss (watch highlights) that he’s been dealing with a dislocated shoulder since April, apologizing to the fans and the division. Fans and bettors have since voiced their displeasure towards Dillashaw and UFC for allowing the fight to happen in the first place. Former promotional commentator, Jimmy Smith, had some thoughts of his own to share following the one-sided tilt.
“Do you feel conned by the co-main event?” Smith asked on MMA on Sirius XM. “Strong wording, I know. I spent $80 in part to watch you put on a great performance against a great champion and you were physically and completely unprepared to do that. That’s a con job.
“It happens during the fight, people,” he continued. “Your knee goes out, your shoulder goes out, you get clipped. Ben Askren got clipped in five seconds. If Ben Askren had said afterward, ‘Yeah, I’m blind in my right eye so I couldn’t see the knee coming,’ that’s on him. You conned us. Ben didn’t con us. He ate a knee and he’s out, jesus, s—t happens, alright? Get a helmet.”
Some of the blame for the fight happening has also fallen on the referee of the bout, Marc Goddard, to who Dillashaw revealed the injury before walking out. Surprisingly, the action made it past the doctors between the first and second rounds when Dillashaw was still having visible issues.
Dillashaw came out for the second frame only throwing punches with his good arm before inevitably getting taken down and battered to the stoppage.
Ultimately, what makes the matter worse for many fans is that the now-retired Jose Aldo was believed to be more worthy of the title shot regardless. Instead, he went on to fight and lost his final career bout against Sterling’s teammate and best friend, Merab Dvalishvili, at UFC 278 in Aug. 2022.
“My point is when you come in and you have something that allows this to happen and you knew it and your coach knew it, you are conning us, you took my $80 with a shoulder that didn’t work,” Smith said. “That’s a con job and I get pissed off by con jobs. When a fighter isn’t in shape or they’re too hurt to perform, which he was. I won’t even say hurt. Injured. He was too injured to perform. That’s a con job. You lied your way into that fight and it’s unfair and it’s unprofessional.”
For complete UFC 280 results and coverage click here.