Sean O’Malley claims he lost Marlon Vera fight “on purpose” to have the rematch be “my biggest fight”

By Cole Shelton - September 6, 2023

Sean O’Malley says he lost to Marlon Vera back at UFC 252 on purpose as he knew it would set up a massive rematch.

Sean O'Malley and Marlon Vera

In the co-main event of UFC 252, O’Malley was set for the toughest test of his career as he was facing Vera in an intriguing matchup. O’Malley entered the fight as a sizeable betting favorite but a leg kick from Vera caused ‘Suga’ to keep rolling his ankle. ‘Chito’ eventually won the fight by ground-and-pound TKO.

Since that fight, Sean O’Malley has claimed it was not a loss as ‘The Suga State Athletic Commission’ overturned it. But, now according to O’Malley, he says he has been playing chess for years and lost that fight on purpose.

“Not at all. I never lost sleep over this fight. I’ve actually been playing chess for a long time. I lost that fight on purpose, just so I could go out there and knock out ‘Aljo’ and have that (Vera fight) be my biggest fight. Rematch,” Sean O’Malley said on The MMA Hour.

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Sean O’Malley, of course, became the UFC bantamweight champion back at UFC 292 as he scored a second-round TKO win over Aljamain Sterling. After the win, he called for his first title defense to be against Marlon Vera and ‘Suga’ says he still hopes that can happen.

“If I got to pick if I was running the show, I would say yes (that’s the fight), simply because ‘Chito’ is the biggest fight next, not because he had a beautiful performance over Pedro. That’s not the case. If I fight ‘Chito’ next, it’s because that’s what I want and that’s the biggest fight. I’m in the fight business and I want big fights,” O’Malley said.

As of right now, O’Malley does not have his next fight booked, but he is confident his first title defense will be a win over Vera.


Marlon Vera Sean O'Malley UFC