UFC middleweight contender Sean Strickland feels his job is secure even if some of his recent comments might have his opponents fearing for their safety.
In an eye-opening interview on The MMA Hour on Wednesday, Strickland expanded on a previous statement that he “would love” to kill somebody in a fight. In fact, were it not for Strickland having a career in fighting, he wonders if his homicidal thoughts would have a greater impact on his life.
“I wanted to my entire life, that’s a big reason why I didn’t have a social life,” Strickland said when asked if he’s concerned about ever acting on his impulses. “Like when I went out and got arrested, I just wanted to. There was just something in me that knew that if I could just kill a human being, it would make me feel good for a short time. It’s one of those things where, like, more people think like that and I’m just the one that says it.
“I always say the difference between me and a lot of people, like you can watch Dexter, you can watch The Punisher, you can watch movies and you can think about killing, but I was on the path to where I was gonna act it out. I was fantasizing, so I think that’s why my mom took me to train. Once you start fantasizing enough about it, you start putting yourself in situations to act out the fantasy. And training allowed the outlet for the fantasy to stop. I’d just go train, I’d fight, go train, I’d fight, go train, I’d fight. But if it wasn’t for that, I fantasize about it all the time.”
Strickland has been competing professionally since 2008 and is currently experiencing the best stretch of success in his career with five straight wins inside the octagon. It was after his recent win over perennial contender Uriah Hall in July that Strickland admitted his desire to end someone’s life in competition.
During Wednesday’s interview, Strickland repeatedly mentioned how often he thinks about killing, to the point that he would go out of his way put himself in scenarios where he would be able to kill in self-defense and avoid jail time. He recalled one evening where he nearly coaxed a group of men into attacking him, which if it went as Strickland had planned, would have ended with at least one of them dead.
“I was running one night and I remember these guys on a loud speaker, they came down the road like, ‘We’re the cops, put your hands out,’” Strickland said. “Obviously, I’ve been f*cking dealing with cops my entire life, I know he’s not a cop, he’s just an assh*le. I’m like, ‘F*ck you man, you ain’t no f*cking cop.’ And they start driving away and I’m like, ‘Yeah, you f*cking p*ssies,’ like now I’m antagonizing them. Three guys get out of the car and they start running towards me. So I kind of jog over to the side and I f*cking kick off like a PVC sprinkler pipe, so it’s kind of jagged. In my mind I was like, ‘The first guy, I’m gonna run up, I’m gonna grab him, I’m gonna shove this f*cking thing right in his neck. I’m just gonna f*cking shove this into his neck. Then the second two, we’ll just see how that happens, how that plays out.’
“But that was like a moment in my life, if they would have — the moment I started running at them, they all took off. They took a full sprint back to the car and drove away, but that was like a moment in my life where I’m like, ‘I finally get to f*cking kill somebody and it’s gonna be justified. There’s three guys that attacked me, I could kill this motherf*cker and get away with it.’ There’s certain times in my life where I really tried to manipulate the situation to make it where I can kill somebody, but it just hasn’t f*cking panned out. I don’t go out much for that reason.”
Strickland believes much of his mindset and behavior stems from past trauma, including a contentious relationship with a psychologically abusive father – now deceased, Strickland referred to him as “a piece of sh*t” — and the influence of his grandfather, whom he claims put him on the path toward neo-Nazism and racism in his youth. He noted that he is “ashamed” of that period of his life.
When asked if he is worried that speaking so openly about wanting to kill someone could lead to trouble with the UFC, or even a possible release, Strickland said he believes that he can’t be fired for having violent thoughts so long as he doesn’t act on them outside of the cage. He compared his situation to a pedophile seeing a child and similarly not acting on their impulses.
“I’m really nice when I meet people,” Strickland said. “If you’ve ever seen me meet somebody, I’m so nice, I’m polite. And I was like changing my tire and this guy walks by me and I’m like, ‘Hey, what’s up? Have a great day.’ And he kind of gave me like a head nod, and as I’m talking to him I’m thinking about taking this f*cking tire iron and f*cking splitting his skull open. And it made me so f*cking mad because here I am, I know what I want and I’m trying to be f*cking nice to you to make up for my thoughts, and you’re a f*cking dick. It’s like, man, it makes me wish I could have did it.
“So again, I’m not worried about it, if someone were to cut me for that. How can you cut someone for that?”
Explaining his world view, Strickland said he rarely leaves the his house, that he’s secluded, and does not interact with the general public, usually maintaining a routine of training and then heading straight home. He described himself as “disconnected” and said he does not look at people as if their lives matter.
Yet Strickland still considers himself to be a “happy” person, and he has no interest in having anyone try to fix him. He is not currently seeking therapy and is only open to the idea of changing his thoughts after his career is over.
“You don’t understand me, I like it,” Strickland said. “I like when I leave the house with the potential thought that maybe I could kill someone, I like it. After I’m done with MMA, I probably will work on rewiring my brain, maybe finding more value in human life. Maybe trying to connect more with people. But right now I f*cking like it, I f*cking enjoy it, you know? I f*cking like it.”