Sean Strickland has told UFC champion Islam Makhachev to stop holding social media star Hasbulla "like a baby".
Social media star Hasbulla has shot to fame in recent years which began largely down to his rivalry with Abdu Rozik, which saw the pair clash at a mock press conference. The Dagestani star, who stands three-feet tall due to suffering from a rare type of dwarfism., has become a viral sensation.
The 20-year-old is regularly seen hanging around with close friend and UFC lightweight division king Makhachev who was previously mentored by Khabib Nurmagomedov. Hasbulla was regularly seen spending time with the pair and regularly attends Makhachev's fights.
Hasbulla posted a picture of himself and Makhachev posing together with the Russian's arms around him, and controversial UFC fighter Strickland had his say on the post. He first tweeted: Why do they hold him like a baby?!? WTF IS GOING ON HERE." This came from his original Instagram story where he reposted the photo with the caption: "This s*** just weirds me out.
"Why do you hold this thing like a baby? It is 20-years-old stop." Strickland is not the first critic of Hasbulla, with UFC superstar Conor McGregor having sparked a furious feud with the social media star, and even threatened to hold a UFC sparring session with him.
Despite the criticism, Hasbulla has become a staple of the UFC alongside Makhachev after he signed a lucrative promotional deal with the organisation. The social media star has been signed to help promote the shows and work with the UFC particularly on social media after president Dana White spotted his star power.
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Rumours were fuelled after he signed the deal that he could even compete in the cage in a showdown with rival Rozik, but White later shut it down. This is unlikely due to Hasbulla's dad's stance on him appearing in the octagon, despite the 20-year-old himself refusing to rule out an appearance.
UFC legend Nurmagomedov has also regularly praised Hasbulla and even suggested that he should next look to move to the US where he believes he could become a billionaire. The 33-year-old told Red Corner MMA : “He has to go to the US, all the big sports stars know him there, he’s very popular. Maybe do some good charity things [together], they can become ambassadors for charity funds… but I don’t want to see this fight.
"We have enough fighting around the world. Peace is better than war. He has to move for a couple of years to the US and become a billionaire. Minimum he can become a millionaire. Honestly, I don’t want to make this fight [with Abdu Rozik]. I don’t support this idea. I don’t think this is a good idea. They’re both big names, they can create some good things if they become friends. If I had a choice, I’m going to make them friends."