Ray Longo on why he called Petr Yan a motherf***** at UFC 273: ‘He’s not the boogeyman any more’


Ray Longo has never been known to bite his tongue between rounds. “I want you to punch a hole in his f****** chest,” his advice given to Chris Weidman before Weidman’s shocking upset of Anderson Silva, remains one of the all-time greats in hot mic moments between coach and fighter in the UFC.

Longo was another nightmare for censors this past Saturday at UFC 273. He walked into the Octagon to see his UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain sterling and yelled: “Aljo! Take a look at him. Take a look at his motherf *****! That’s what I’m talking about.”

The message, Longo said Monday on The MMA Hour, was that all those people who said Sterling was going to get dominated were wrong.

” What happened to the Boogeyman? Longo clarified that he’s no longer the boogeyman – Aljo is the boogeyman. “That’s why I even got fired up. This is the guy? You think this guy is going to get you killed? Look at this guy. He doesn’t look too good to me.”

Longo had paid attention to all the hate Sterling fielded after a disqualification win in a first meeting with Yan at UFC 259, and the interim champ had definitely gotten his attention when he threatened – jokingly, he later claimed – a hotel brawl to settle the bad blood that had build up for 13 months between the first fight and the rematch.

So when Sterling not only survived but won the opening frame, Longo thought he’d remind his student.

” I’m enjoying it, and there were a lot tension building up towards this fight,” said he. “I’m in New York, I’m getting ready to leave, and this guy is saying he’s going to kill his team on site. I’m like, ‘What? You’re threatening me in my own f****** country?’

” It wasn’t the best look for him. Nothing was going to happen. It would have been the stupidest thing he could have even tried. I think for me, maybe that added to the emotion, because you’re kind of aggravated. It’s insulting, somebody’s threatening to kill you. You’re like, “Are you kidding?”

“I think I wanted to give Aljo a boost. You got this man, because you don’t know what builds up in his mind over 13 months. Maybe there’s self-doubt in there, too, that nobody knows about. I just wanted to erase that and amp him up.”

Sterling went on to win Rounds 2 and 3 on all three judges’ scorecards, though interestingly, none awarded the champ a 10-8 score in the second frame after an extended period of grappling dominance and ground and pound. Yan surged late in the fight, winning Rounds 3 and 4 on all scorecards, making Round 1 the deciding frame. Two of three judges gave the fight to Sterling, 10-9, making him the winner by split decision.

Predictably Sterling’s critics were not appeased with the mixed scorecards. Longo views the complaints about a robbery like sour grapes.

” People can be as creative or conservative as they like, but it was very close. The first round, here’s the bottom line: They had that kid getting killed, period. [They said], “He is not going to come out of the initial round.” And when it doesn’t, they have to go back to some…we are down to the second round with six punches? Are you frickin’ kidding me?

“The guy was supposed to get mauled and killed. He was supposed to shut everyone up. And I can tell you, Yan is only going to get worse as the fights continue. Because I believe the more Aljo becomes comfortable and stays healthier, the better he will get.

Sterling aims to face former champ T.J. Dillashaw, who was cageside for this past Saturday’s fight and greeted the champ’s post-fight callout with a pair of middle fingers. Longo doesn’t have any preference on the next name. But he hopes the people who’ve attacked Sterling so relentlessly will back off.

“[Sterling is] an honest guy,” Longo said. Longo stated, “I don’t believe there’s any bad bone in this guy’s body.” He said in the press conference, in Long Island, everybody’s just busting balls. This is how we all grow up. Maybe it’s different in the rest of the globe. He is a great guy. He runs great classes here, he gives out to the community. His roots are where he was born, so he never lost them. I want to highlight the positive things this man does .”