After Khalil Rountree’s Triggering Interview, Sean Strickland Picks Beef With Controversial “Cult” Insult Just Weeks Removed From Israel Adesanya Fight at UFC 293

Published 08/13/2023, 11:11 AM EDT

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Sean Strickland is an elite-level troll. Many fighters before him have used their verbosity and sense of humor to attract eyeballs and get ahead in line for a title shot. This includes the likes of Conor McGregorChael Sonnen, and Michael Bisping to name just a few. And, it might be the reason that he will be fighting for the middleweight crown at UFC 293 next month.

His bad blood with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was reportedly one of the main reasons he was chosen to face the champ after Dricus Du Plessis pulled out of their slated clash. But, it seems ‘Tarzan’ genuinely enjoys trolling after his recent mockery of UFC light heavyweight Khalil Rountree after the latter’s press conference following UFC Fight Night yesterday.

Sean Strickland takes fresh shots at Khalil Rountree


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On his Instagram Stories, Sean Strickland posted a video of Rountree being asked by a reporter about his beef with ‘Tarzan’ after his victory over Chris Daukaus in the first round last night. “Is the beef with Sean Strickland squashed? Is that whole thing done?” the reporter asked.

The light heavyweight played it off, feigning ignorance. “I don’t even who that is, dude. You guys keep asking me about this name, I dont even know this person,” Rountree told the media.

Strickland captioned the post with “Cult Ambassador,” and “When your level 100 @choicecenter tells you not to talk, you listen…” implying Rountree is in a cult.

He followed this up with other stories calling ‘Choice Center Leadership University’ a cult and attempted to start the hashtag #freeroundtree, calling on his followers to rescue Rountree from the cult. “You guys I’m not messing with you @choicecenter is a cult. We gotta rescue Roundtree,” he wrote.


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Throwback to when ‘Tarzan’ called out Rountree after his emotional speech

This is not the first time that Strickland has mocked Rountree. In 2022, the light heavyweight delivered an emotional and heartfelt post-match speech talking about his struggles with mental health. ‘Tarzan’ pounced on Rountree after his speech and called him out as a “PC beta male” and a “special needs” person. The 33-year-old took the high road and refused to engage with Strickland, hoping the latter would “learn to be a better person”.


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Sean Strickland certainly knows how to get inside people’s skins. But, it seems Rountree is using one of the most effective tactics against such an onslaught, i.e., refusing to even engage with it. Trash-talk requires a back-and-forth, and since none is incoming from Rountree’s side, it would be interesting to see what tactic Strickland comes up with next to try and troll him.

Watch this story: Israel Adesanya’s Light Heavyweight Move Discussed By UFC Legends


Written by:

Kanishk Thakur


One take at a time

Kanishk Thakur is an MMA writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in political science from Delhi University, his love for writing and MMA made him want to be part of telling the story of the sport. His journalist mother and love for philosophy and research inculcated a staunch rationalism in him, and the need to substantiate every statement he makes with good evidence.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Das