Robert Drysdale, the lead cornermen for UFC lightweight newcomer Max Rohskopf, explained his decision to ignore his fighter’s call to stop the fight.
Drysdale, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and a former light heavyweight in the UFC, was Rohskopf’s lead corner for his UFC debut fight against Austin Hubbard at UFC on ESPN 11. Rohskopf was a perfect 5-0 on the regional scene with all five of his wins coming by way of submission, and he was the betting favorite coming into the fight with the three-fight UFC vet Hubbard despite taking the bout on just five days’ notice.
During the first round of the fight, Rohskopf was able to take Hubbard down and control him on the mat early in the bout, though Hubbard was able to start landing strikes later in the round. The second round was a completely different story, though. Rohskopf looked exhausted during the second round, showing signs of taking the fight on short notice, and he began to get teed off on by Hubbard, especially towards the end of the round. Rohskopf was not dropped by strikes but nonetheless took quite a bit of damage.
After the second round, Rohskopf was seen telling Drysdale in his corner that he wanted to call off the fight. He was shown saying he wanted the fight stopped up to nine times, but Drysdale continued to push him to continue. However, the doctor eventually intervened after hearing the fighters’ call to stop the fight, and the fight was stopped, giving the TKO win to Hubbard via retirement.
The non-stoppage was controversial as many fans and media believed that Drysdale should have listened to his fighter. However, there were a number of fans, media, and fellow fighters who accused Rohskopf of quitting. Either way, it was a very controversial ending, and after the fight, Drysdale told Ariel Helwani why he didn’t want to stop it.
"I stand by what I did. I expect excellence from the people I train because I love them. [Max Rohskopf] wasn't seriously hurt, and I felt he needed a mental push. I would expect the same from my coach," Robert Drysdale told @arielhelwani. https://t.co/ZU93pMUsf9
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 21, 2020
“I stand by what I did. I expect excellence from the people I train because I love them. [Max Rohskopf] wasn’t seriously hurt, and I felt he needed a mental push. I would expect the same from my coach,” Drysdale said.
This was a very interesting situation, to be sure. While critics are right that if Rohskopf wanted out then the fight should have been stopped, Drysdale is right in that it’s a cornermen’s job to push his fighter. It seems like it’s a lose-lose situation all around, and in the end, what everyone is forgetting is how impressive Hubbard was in victory.
Do you think Robert Drysdale was in the right in trying to convince Max Rohskopf to continue fighting?