Brian Kelleher criticizes Sean O’Malley for behaviour after “Chito” loss

Brian Kelleher, Sean O'Malley

UFC bantamweight Brian Kelleher is not impressed with the way Sean O’Malley comported himself after his UFC 252 loss to Marlon “Chito” Vera.

O’Malley and Vera collided in the UFC 252 main event. In a significant upset, Vera stopped O’Malley with first round ground strikes after the formerly unbeaten prospect seemingly injured his leg.

Post-fight, O’Malley downplayed Vera’s performance, and suggested his foe will be a journeyman in five years’ time.

Kelleher, who previously angled for a fight with O’Malley, was not particularly impressed.

“I don’t like the way he handles the loss,” Kelleher said on MMA Fighting’s A-Side. “Still putting Chito down, not really accepting it. But I do think that business-wise, he’s kind of doing this on purpose. I don’t know if he’s getting information from other guys that have done this in the past, but you know, you have people that love you, you make people hate you, and you have all areas covered as far as fanbase goes, and people that want to see you fight whether they want to see you win or lose.

“I think O’Malley’s kind of playing that role where he’s like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna make you hate me. I’m just gonna keep being brash and cocky and you know, I’m still undefeated. So F you, and I’m gonna keep being me’ type of thing. I don’t blame him for doing that, but I like to see a little bit more humble honesty when it comes to real true answers for facing defeat.”

Kelleher is still interested in fighting O’Malley, but doesn’t expect his fellow bantamweight to be interested in that particular matchup.

“I wouldn’t think that I would be a bad matchup for them to do now,” Kelleher said of a potential fight. “I think it makes pretty good sense. But I said this before, a lot of the want and desire to fight him was to take that [zero], to be the first guy to beat him and steal the hype and everything, and Marlon Vera kind of just did that. It doesn’t have as much steam to me as it did, but I would still do it. It’s always a big fight with a guy with that big of a following.

“I think they’re gonna go a safer route with him and give him a very, very winnable fight again and then go from there.”

What do you think of these comments from Brian Kelleher? What do you think of the way Sean O’Malley handled his first loss?