Dan Henderson says he kicked Sean Strickland out of his gym for ‘disrespectful’ behavior

DAN HIMBRECHTS / AAP, IMAGO

UFC champ Sean Strickland disrespectful?

When it comes to being off the cuff and filterless, Sean Strickland has the corner on the market. Often described as abrasive, the freshly minted UFC middleweight champion certainly knows how to grab a headline and divide fans. And just when you think you’ve learned all there is to know about the man, more comes out in the wash.

This time, we hear from the legendary Dan Henderson, who recently guested on the Joe Rogan Experience. During that interview, Henderson discussed why Strickland no longer trained at Team Quest. The reason is as unsurprising as learning the sky is blue or water is wet. H/T to MMA Fighting for the transcript:

“He was at my gym for, like, three years. We kind of had to let him go. He just kind of gets too involved talking s*** about people. I liked him in the gym, I liked him there, he was a great training partner. You need at least one guy in your gym that does that and goes hard and makes everybody else go hard when they’re going against him, so I liked it.”

This lines up with other accounts of Sean’s gym behavior as being intense and aggressive. There’s plenty of footage of Sean Strickland getting after it in sparring practice:

Sean Strickland training footage

Henderson was complimentary of Sean’s skills noting he “has cardio for days” and that he “knew how to fight well” and said he continued rooting for him even after he had to remove him from his team.

“He just was too disrespectful to teammates and stuff. I always rooted for him when he left, it wasn’t like I was like, ‘I hope that guy…’—No, I always rooted for him. I thought he had a ton of potential. I was yelling at him to go up a weight class because he was always trying to make 170. I was like, ‘Dude, you need to go to 185. You’ll feel a lot better, you’ll be fine competing up there.’ But everybody is always mentally afraid of being against bigger guys.”

Wild moments with Sean Strickland

Sean Strickland has always been a wild man and we’ve had no shortage of footage that proves it. From the time he “assualted” a fan just days before his fight with Adesanya to the tirade he launched against social media influencer Keith Lee, Sean has maintained a high visibility persona with plenty of cringe-worthy moments.

In the leadup to their fight at UFC 293, Israel Adesanya noted in an interview that the UFC didn’t really want Strickland fighting for the belt. Izzy said the UFC was worried he might “embarrass the company,” as if anything ever embarrasses them.

Sean Strickland’s personality nearly nixed fight according to Israel Adesanya

Broader appeal for a larger than life personality

Strickland’s appeal to casual and hardcore fans doesn’t just lie in his skillset. And while there’s plenty to marvel at in that regard, the outspoken champ’s broader appeal seems to lie with his “every man” attitude. He once told Joe Rogan “I am white trash, I am the future of America.”

On the surface, that statement seems out of pocket, but the follow-up comments explain his intent more clearly:

“I’m white trash like I like what I mean by that is like I am the future of America. Both my parents worked. My dad’s a piece of s—t but you know (he’s) in Hell probably right now. Both my parents worked. They made good money, but we were poor we were poor because after the cigarettes, the bars and the fast food we were f—king poor. (We’d) find a piece of regular paper and wrinkle it up and use that as toilet paper.  

“There is like this unholy alliance that corporations are doing to America. They want women working. They want lower wages and they want more consumerism.

“I don’t mean it like—I’m not sexist—like ‘Oh put woman back in the kitchen you know they suck.’ And I love women, you know, take off the burka wear a f—king bikini and huzzah. But we’re truly in a weird time (because) corporations are eroding (our) values. Well they act within their best interests and it’s in their best interests to keep people consumers and make sure that people just pay attention only to stupid sh*t.”

Sean knows how to engage his audience. He mixes in just the right amount of incendiary fodder with some wholesome—or what he thinks is wholesome—commentary. He frequently gives advice and shares his experiences as a basis for giving those life pointers. In a nutshell, he makes fans feel they have a kinship with him, and that’s not a bad thing if you’re Sean Strickland.

UFC 293 SYDNEY, Sean Strickland of the USA reacts after defeating Israel Adesanya of Nigeria during the Middleweight Title bout of UFC 293 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Sunday, September 10, 2023. ( !ACHTUNG: NUR REDAKTIONELLE NUTZUNG, KEINE ARCHIVIERUNG UND KEINE BUCHNUTZUNG! SYDNEY NEW SOUTH WALES AUSTRALIA PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxAUSxNZLxPNGxFIJxVANxSOLxTGA 20230910001839938970
DAN HIMBRECHTS / AAP, IMAGO

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About the author

Stephie Haynes


Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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