Max Rohskopf was brought in as a late replacement to fight Austin Hubbard on Saturday night at UFC On ESPN 11 and despite the bouts early prelim spot the result has becoming the source of much controversy and debate in the aftermath of the show.
The 25-year-old Rohskopf was 5-0 heading into his UFC debut, but he faced a torrid start to his time in the Octagon as Hubbard dominated the action in the opening two rounds.
The dejected Rohskopf, who had accepted the fight on just 10 days notice, slumped in his stool inbetween rounds and quietly told his coach, Robert Drysdale to call off the bout.
“Call it,” Rohskopf was heard telling Drysdale repeatedly, while adding, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
His pleas fell on deaf ears though as Drysdale continued to implore him to continue fighting and try and win the last round of the fight.
However, when the minute of rest was over, Rohskopf didn’t get back off his stool and the referee quickly waved off the fight.
The outcome has sparked much debate in the MMA community, where in some quarters a fighter quitting is frowned upon, as evidenced by Dan Hooker who mockingly questioned on Twitter, “How do you get into the UFC without realising you’re made of marshmallows?”
However, in this case many have been critical of Drysdale for ignoring his fighter’s wishes and not attempting to save him from further punishment.
Even the Nevada State Athletic Commission have waded into the debate, stating that they will look into the matter.
“We might want to take disciplinary action on [Rohskopf’s corner,]” NAC exec Bob Bennett told ESPN. “That’s something we will take a look at. That doesn’t sound like they are looking out for a fighter. Obviously, he didn’t want to come out (and fight).”
Meanwhile, Dana White has spoken out in support of Rohskopf’s decision to quit.
“Let me tell you what, in this f**king sport, if you’re done, you’re done,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “You should absolutely be able to quit. I know that it’s frowned upon but guess what? Anybody that would talk sh*t about you quitting, isn’t in there fighting. It’s real easy to be a critic. What these kids do is a whole other level.
“As the guy who runs this organization, as the guy who’s involved in the matchmaking and everything else, you see these kids, we deal with managers from all over the world, they’re like ‘this guy’s the guy, this guy’s the guy!’ When you get here, this is a whole different level and that guy’s not ready and he might not ever be ready.”
As for Drysdale, he has stated that Rohskopf was simply suffering from fatigue due to the short-notice nature of the fight and a ‘turf-toe’ injury, but has stood by his actions and believes that the fighter will bounce back from this setback in his career.
“I stand by what I did,” Drysdale told ESPN. “I expect excellence from the people I train because I love them. He wasn’t seriously hurt, and I felt he needed a mental push. I would expect the same from my coach.
‘We will be back. Max is a champion.”