George Sotiropoulos “is not a professional athlete, is not a man”, in the opinion of TUF Smashes rival coach Ross Pearson.
A bitter rivalry emerged between the two over the course of the season’s filming in Australia last year. Things turned particularly sour when there was a physical altercation between Sotiropoulos and one of Pearson’s coaching staff.
“I don't know if I am allowed to talk about this. Well, the season is over, so... he was a bad representation of Australia. I’ve got a lot of Australian friends and he just wasn't a good representation. He wasn't a good representation of a professional athlete.
“He struck one of my training partners from behind in a back alley like a thug would, not a professional fighter. But he didn't have the power to finish him [whereas] my guy put him down with one shot and finished him. That’s all I can say about it really.
“He is not a professional athlete, he is not a man. He couldn't look at him straight in the face and fight him one on one, he had to cheap shot him from behind. I'll never respect him for that.”
The fight marked Pearson’s return to the lightweight division following a 1-1 attempt at a featherweight run. Pearson found the weight cut very hard and felt that it affected not only his cardio but his spirit and his chin. “I just didn’t want to fight. I didn’t feel like fighting,” he says.
His next fight will take place in April when he faces Ryan Couture in Sweden. The Strikeforce import is making his UFC debut and comes into the fight off the back of a controversial decision win over KJ Noons. Pearson is coming off his third-round TKO of Sotiropoulos in December.