Bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili has broken his silence on the drama surrounding his decision to refuse a fight against friend and teammate Aljamain Sterling for the UFC bantamweight title.
Dana White recently spoke out against Dvalishvili’s decision, stating that it would be a mistake for the fighter to put his friendship above his shot at the title. White warned that Dvalishvili could risk being passed over by other fighters if he continues to refuse the fight against Sterling.
Appearing in a recent edition of TheMMAHour, the Georgian fighter had the following to say in response to White’s comments:
“Yeah, I did see this, and actually, it wasn’t the first time he [Dana White] said that. It was after I beat Jose Aldo and Joe Rogan asked me again, and I was… I say very clearly, you know, please don’t ask me this question… I was mad because… all people asking me ‘Oh if you win would you fight Aljo [Sterling]? I say let me fight, let me win, why are you asking me now? I was so over it, and people kept asking me same question. Aljo [Sterling] already has a booked fight, and I stay true to my heart.”
Adding further, ‘The Machine’ said:
“And we met Dana White [prior to Petr Yan fight]… and after that matchmaker, Sean Shelby was saying, you know, he cannot give me O’Malley fight, he cannot give me Chito Vera, he cannot give Cory Sandhagen or even Petr Yan. Because if I beat them and then I am not fighting my friend [ Aljamainn Sterling for a title match]. I understand business and I was so sad that it was no fight for me. But luckily, Petr [Yan] pushed the fight, and they give me this Petr fight. And I’m happy, and I appreciate it.”
Check out Dvalishvili’s comments below:
It remains to be seen whether Merab Dvalishvili’s decision to maintain his friendship with Sterling will affect his title shot. However, it is clear that the fighter is staying true to his values and priorities, and he deserves credit for his honesty and integrity.
Merab Dvalishvili claims Petr Yan should be more respectful toward other fighters
In the post-fight press conference following his victory against Petr Yan at UFC Fight Night 221, bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili had some words for his opponent. He claimed that Yan should show more respect to other fighters and not think of himself as the best.
Dvalishvili, who is now ranked No.3 in the bantamweight division, went on to say:
“I’m a winner today… I think this loss will make him think more, he will respect other fighters, and he was thinking before he is the best, and he is the No.1, and I am zero. It’s not like this. We’re all human, and nobody’s perfect. You should not treat people like this. You should respect everybody. He didn’t respect me before, but now, he will respect me.”
Check out Merab Dvalishvili’s comments below [34:00 mark]:
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