Sean O’Malley and his head coach, Tim Welch, gave their opinions on the ongoing debate about submission grappling.
On December 30, Aljamain Sterling competed in the main event of Fury Pro Grappling 8 against Kevin Dantzler, a pure BJJ competitor. Sterling controlled the match with his strength and wrestling advantage but ultimately lost due to the scoring criteria that favored Dantzler’s submission attempts.
During his post-match interview, Sterling claimed the sport of jiu-jitsu was being ruined by grapplers laying on their backs and pulling guard. As a result, a debate was sparked within the combat sports community about whether the former UFC champion was right.
Earlier this week, Sean O’Malley and Tim Welch released the latest episode of their podcast called The TimboSugarShow. Welch brought up Sterling’s grappling loss, leading to the following conversation about the previously mentioned debate:
“Just wrestle. Wrestle you little f*cking fruit loop. Don’t sit on your butt.” – O’Malley
“I definitely think it should be penalized a little bit, but also, that’s the sport. You gotta be able to pass the guard. Instead of blaming them on butt-scooting, blame yourself or I can’t pass this f*cker’s guard.” – Welch
“If you butt scoot, you’re a fruit loop.” – O’Malley
“It depends. I agree, and I’m in support of wrestling, and I think it should be a penalty in every rule set…It should just put you down right off the rip like it’s ADCC.” – Welch
“I don’t know. I’m just talking sh*t. Jiu-jitsu is a sweet sport. Being able to guard retention and not have someone pass your guard is a sweet skill, but something about wrestling, especially for someone like Aljo who’s going in from fighting, an MMA guy going against [a jiu-jitsu guy] like, ‘Let’s just f*cking wrestle a little bit.” – O’Malley
Watch Aljamain Sterling’s post-match interview below:
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) December 31, 2023
The head coach of Sean O’Malley, Tim Welch, advocates against those who believe jiu-jitsu matches are fights
Another debate regarding submission grappling is whether or not the matches should be considered a fight. Some people believe it’s not a fight without punches and kicks, while jiu-jitsu practitioners argue that the damage suffered can be worse than mixed martial arts bouts.
During the previously mentioned podcast episode, Tim Welch had this to say about jiu-jitsu not being a fight:
“Like Aljo said, if that’s a fight, it’s like come on. Every single position he’s in, he’s in this position to just drop bombs on the guy’s head, but that’s the thing about jiu-jitsu, it’s not a fight. It’s not a fight. It’s a completely different sport. Sweeps, guard passing, it’s just a lot about that, but those guys that can pull guard if you have someone really attacking you, it’s gonna open up back takes and sweeps and stuff. I understand both sides, but it’s cool he’s still just competing in jiu-jitsu just for fun.”
Aljamain Sterling’s recent grappling match was the perfect way to stay active without suffering a severe injury. On April 13, Sterling will make his featherweight debut against Calvin Katter during the preliminary portion of UFC 300.
As for Sean O’Malley, the UFC bantamweight champion will defend his throne for the first time in the UFC 299 main event on March 9. ‘Sugar’ has been matched up against a familiar opponent, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera, who secured a first-round knockout win against O’Malley in August 2020.
Watch O’Malley and Welch talk about submission grappling below: