Junior Dos Santos’ Coach ‘Never Considered’ Throwing in Towel at UFC 166
At UFC 166, Junior dos Santos (right) suffered incredible damage during a nearly five-round fight against UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez. Despite dos Santos’ battered face and significantly slowed demeanor in the cage, the fighter’s jiu jitsu coach said he ‘never considered throwing in the towel.’
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Yuri Carlton is a man who many people have been questioning in the past few days. He is the Brazilian jiu jitsu coach of former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos, the man who suffered an excruciating beating in his most recent bout at UFC 166.
UFC President Dana White voiced his disapproval with dos Santos’ corner and the referee for allowing the fight to continue. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, the governing body that oversaw UFC 166, suspended Junior dos Santos indefinitely after the amount of punishment he took last Saturday. The TDLR ruled that dos Santos must first receive clearance from an ear, nose and throat doctor before he can resume fighting. Even dos Santos himself admitted that he was essentially knocked out on his feet, saying that he did not remember the last two and a half rounds, nor his post-fight interview.
Yet Carlton, who is dos Santos’ jiu jitsu coach, told MMA Fighting that ending the fight never occurred to him, though he admits it would not be his decision.
“To be honest,” he said, “I never considered throwing in the towel. If something like that ever happens, [dos Santos’ boxing coach] Luiz Carlos Dorea would be the one to decide. I was hoping for the knockout all the time. In the fifth round, ‘Cigano’ went for that choke. Anything can happen. We see a guy lose the whole fight and then win in the last round. It happens all the time. We’re not impressed by blood or anything like that, neither is ‘Cigano’. He always fights for the win, no matter what.”
And indeed, dos Santos had an opportunity to turn the fight in the fifth round when he went for a d’Arce choke. Velasquez would escape, leaving dos Santos vulnerable to punches that ended the fight, but that was the opportunity Carlton had hoped his fighter would seize. Even still, he admits that he was not hopeful during the fight.
“He always tries that submission in the gym, and he submits a lot of sparring partners here with it. He went for it automatically. Cain Velasquez rolled to defend and ‘Cigano’ felt his face on the ground and couldn’t fight anymore. But even if he didn’t hit his head on the ground he wouldn’t win anyway, it wouldn’t change the fight. He was already beat. We hoped he could land a good punch even if he was completely tired, but it didn’t happen.
“After the second round, he was fighting in the autopilot mode but he didn’t tell me he thought he lost in the second round. But that’s normal. Sometimes you go out with a punch or a good elbow but keep fighting automatically. That’s normal.”
While many fans and people outside the sport are certainly shocked at the decision to allow Junior dos Santos to continue, Javier Mendez, who coaches Cain Velasquez, said he understands.
“I would’ve been torn,” the head coach at American Kickboxing Academy told Ariel Helwani on Monday. “I might’ve stopped the fight… But I would’ve been like, ‘Man, I don’t know, because my fighter is such a great warrior, he takes good shots, he still has a chance to win.’ Man, it would’ve been a tough call.”
All said and done, the most important thing is that Junior dos Santos is recovering. Depending on what doctors find, it could be a while before he is allowed back into the cage, but the tenacity the former UFC heavyweight champion displayed leaves no doubts that he will find his way back into the Octagon soon.
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