The co-main event at UFC 229 showcased back and forth action that earned both men the fight of the night honors. The fight came to a halt at the end of the second round as Anthony Pettis fractured his right hand. Already battered and bloody and with his injured hand to contend with Duke Roufus, Pettis’s longtime coach, called off the fight.
Unfortunately, stopping fights to save a fighter from unnecessary damage has not caught on in the MMA Community.
Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington at UFC 224
Raquel Pennington fought hard for four rounds against the champion but Nunes demonstrated superior striking and grappling ability. Pennigton returned to her stool after being outclassed at every turn and asked to have the fight stopped. Her corner urged Pennington into the fifth round with a defeated mindset, a dangerous headspace to be in for a fighter. Link to the corner feed below:
Raquel suffered a TKO loss to Amanda Nunes at 2:36 in the fifth and final round.
“Sometimes you can risk injury in a fight. Against Tony Ferguson, a guy who likes I just thought it was the right idea.”
The Spartan mentality, to come home with your shield or on it, prevails in MMA as the proper attitude to injury in a fight.
TheUFC 229’s co-main could have followed the trend had Coach Roufus not made the call.
Roufusport Academy has suffered from this “it ain’t over until is over” mentality in the past which caused the death of student Dennis Munson back in 2014.
Dennis Munson died due to blunt force trauma sustained in his first ever fight. His family believes that the damage would have been prevented had the corner looked after their fighter.
Coach Duke Roufus did not attend the fight that night but Munson did have members of the Roufusposrt Academy in his corner.
A link to the MMAfighting article, containing footage of the fight, posted below:
Links to testimonials of people who have trained at the academy:
Anthony Pettis vs. Tony Ferguson at UFC 229
Coach Roufus, in an interview on the MMA Hour, gave the reasons behind his decision. He gave a tactical breakdown of why he wanted to stop the fight and spare his fighter.
“Tony Ferguson is a very mean elbow expert. If you know anything about muay thai, the only thing that keeps an elbow expert off of you is hard punching and good clinching. With Anthony’s hand damaged, he couldn’t keep him off of getting elbowed.”
Ferguson used these elbows to open up cuts on the face of Pettis multiple times throughout the fight.
Anthony Pettis, a former Lightweight champion in the WEC and the UFC, had nothing to prove by fighting in that final round. Coach Roufus echoed this sentiment with his closing statement of the interview.
” (…) you’re gonna see me do that more because what I love more about MMA is a loss doesn’t define your career.”
With things going awry in this sport at times it is refreshing to see a corner exercise restraint. Too often a fighter gets subjected to a needless punishment that could have been avoided had their corner decided to stop the fight.