Coach Robert Drysdale releases statement after controversial end to fight

"I would expect the exact same thing from him if he was in my shoes..."

Renown roach Robert Drysdale has taken to social media to clear the air, releasing a statement on his controversial handling of one of his fighters bouts. 

UFC on ESPN 11 went down this weekend at the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. While as a whole it was an ordinary night at the office for UFC fighters and employees, controversy reared it’s head in the very first fight of the night. The bout featured a lightweight battle between Austin Hubbard and promotional newcomer; Max Rohskopf.

While Rohskopf started off strongly, securing a takedown, the tide began turning towards the end of the round. In the second round, Hubbard began teeing off on Rohskopf, who was taking a substantial amount of punishment, though managing to stay on his feet.

Former UFC fighter Robert Drysdale was cornering Rohskopf, who seemed completely dejected heading into his corner ahead of the third round. Rohskopf repeatedly said that he could not continue, but to no avail. Drysdale wouldn’t have it, pressuring his fighter to continue into the third round. A member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission then overheard these comments. asking a doctor to speak with Rohskopf, and stopping the fight upon doing so.

Drysdale’s cornering style drew much criticism from fans, fighters and pundits alike, with NSAC saying they might take disciplinary action against the coach.

“That’s something we will take a look at,” NSAC executive director Bob Bennett told ESPN on Saturday night. “We might want to take disciplinary action on them. That doesn’t sound like they are looking out for a fighter. Obviously, he didn’t want to come out [and fight].”

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Upon the waves of criticism he’s been receiving, Drysdale released a video to adress the concerns.

“I stand by what I did. I gave him the mental coach that he needed. I would expect the exact same thing from him if he was in my shoes – or any of my coaches for that matter. I expect nothing but greatness from the people around me. If they’re critiquing me, that’s love. That’s true love. That’s the only way to show you care for someone. It’s to make sure they’re giving the best version of themselves,” Drysdale said in the statement.

“If he had been seriously injured, I would have been the first one to stop that fight. I would’ve stopped that fight before anyone else. No one cares about him more than I do other than his immediate family.

“He wasn’t seriously hurt. I know he was not in harm’s way. He was just frustrated. I was trying to give him a push so he overcame that frustration. I still believe he could have won the fight. I felt he won the first round. I don’t see how he lost the first round. He definitely lost (the second) round. I think he thought he could’ve turned it in the third. Even if not in an exciting matter, he could have won a decision. That’s what I was trying to get him to do.

“If you pay close attention, I did call the fight at the very last second,” Drysdale said. “I did the right thing. I exhausted the 60 seconds and at the very last second, I called it. Strategically, that was the correct thing to do. I don’t regret my decision at all,” Drysdale said.

It remains to be seen what supposed disciplinary action will be taken by NSAC.

What do you make of the statement released by Robert Drysdale?

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for MMAnytt.com

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