LAS VEGAS – Sean O'Malley is adamant that he’s no sore loser, even if that’s been the public perception his undefeated record was taken away by Marlon Vera last summer.
O’Malley (12-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) suffered his first career defeat last August at UFC 250, where “Chito” gave him a perfect low kick that triggered the nerve in his leg and caused visible damage. It set up a flurry from Vera that led to the TKO, but O’Malley has insisted since it wasn’t a real loss and he should still have a perfect record.
That’s caused much backlash from MMA fans, who have accused O’Malley of being a poor sport and acting delusional. Seven months later, as he readies for a return to action against Thomas Almeida (21-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) at UFC 260 on Saturday, he stands by his original viewpoint of the outcome.
“It’s just the way I feel,” O’Malley told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at UFC 260 media day on Wednesday. “I feel undefeated. I don’t feel I was beat because my skillset wasn’t as good as his. It was a freak accident. How many leg kicks have been thrown since that kick to now. How many times has that happened? If he would’ve said, ‘I’m going to go in there and kick his nerve’ then it happened, I would’ve been like, ‘This motherf*cker is good.’ And he is good. ‘Chito’ is a good opponent. But the way that fight ended, watching the fight before that happened, I was controlling the fight. I was doing what I wanted.”
O’Malley said the entire situation comes down to his perspective on the fight game. He’s not trying to be disrespectful or dismissive about what happened inside the octagon, but he can’t chalk up the Vera result as one where he was proven to be inferior.
“Suga” knows the day will eventually come when he is beaten fair and square, though, and everyone from himself to his opponent to the viewing audience will know the better fighter.
When that day comes, O’Malley said he will take it without complaint.
“I have no problem with losing,” O’Malley said. “I lose in the gym all the time. You get up, slap hands and compete again. I don’t mind losing. One of these days I’m going to lose a fight, hopefully not in that kind of fashion, then it’s going to be like, ‘He beat me.’ I have no issues losing. I think the whole 12-1 mentally undefeated thing has gotten a little crazy, but I do kind of enjoy when people get mad at it.”
Regardless of his or anyone else’s feelings, the fight with Vera is in the past and now O’Malley is moving forward. He gets a tough opponent in Almeida in the bantamweight main card matchup, which takes place at the UFC Apex and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
O’Malley said he holds Almeida in high regard, and he looks forward to putting the Brazilian’s name on his resume.