Gilbert Burns reveals fist-fight in the stands at UFC 296 was premeditated
Twenty-four hours following a nasty verbal confrontation between the UFC middleweight champion and his first title challenger, Dricus Du Plessis, the two outspoken standouts engaged in an all-out brawl in the stands at T-Mobile Arena during the promotion’s final pay-per-view event of the year, Craig Pekios reports for Low Kick MMA.
Videos of the incident immediately flooded social media and many fight fans were a little skeptical, suggesting that the UFC took a page out of the WWE’s book and staged the incident to help promote January’s first big headliner.
— Combat Sports UK (@CombatSportsUK) December 17, 2023
Appearing on the JAXXON podcast, Gilbert Burns, whose family had a front-row seat for the incident, revealed that not only was the brawl real but that Sean Strickland had walked into the building determined to throw hands with ‘Still-knocks’ that night.
“That was my wife and kid,” Burns explained, referring to the people Strickland waved aside before lunging at Du Plessis. “And then when Sean came, he came and then he kind of looked at the guy. I think he’s already like ‘Man sh*t. You brought your wife and your kids,’ and I say yes. And he said, ‘Yeah this fricking guy is right there. I might do stuff with this guy.’
“That was before the fight! When he walked in, he already had the thing in his head. [Strickland said] If I do something, I’ll give you the heads up. Whenever the things start going down, this guy [Strickland] kind of look at me and said, ‘Now!’”
Dana White takes Responsibility for Strickland’s attack on Du Plessis
Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis are scheduled to scrap on January 20 when the promotion returns to PPV for UFC 297. Had either man sustained an injury in the scuffle, those plans could have been put in serious jeopardy. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but UFC CEO Dana White was willing to take full responsibility for being the “a**hole” that sat the two middleweight stars so close together.
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) December 17, 2023
They hit each other a little bit,” Burns added. “People didn’t see that side of the camera. We saw because it was right there. There was kind of a little bit back-and-forth, but it was nothing clean. And then Dana came after the fight, like what happened, did anyone get hurt, anyone need anything? No, nothing happened to anyone. Even those guys, they fought each other” (h/t MMA Mania).