Duke Roufus Addresses Decision To Stop Pettis’ Fight At UFC 229

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Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Duke Roufus addresses his decision to make the call to stop the fight at UFC 229 involving former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. As seen in the co-main event of this show at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, Tony Ferguson beat Pettis by second round TKO via the way of corner stoppage. The reason for it was due to the hand injury that Pettis suffered.

Prior to this fight, Pettis’ career was dealing with a roller coast of ups and downs. However, it appeared that changed in his fight on the main card of the UFC 226 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas, Nevada. This fight saw the former UFC lightweight champion score submission win in the second round over Michael Chiesa to put him back to his winning ways.

Obviously, that changed at UFC 229 but things look up for Pettis, who broke his hand during one of the exchanges. Thus, his coach, Duke Roufus, decided to not risk more damage due to this handicap and called the fight off.

Duke Roufus Addresses

Roufus went into detail about his decision when speaking with Luke Thomas on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour.

“Stylistic, this is a guy you can’t jab and grab and coast like boxing or Muay Thai with your hand damaged,” Roufus explained (via MMA Fighting). “Here’s the thing, 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.”

Consequences Of Actions

Roufus continued by stating that with such an injury, you can’t clinch, punch, or even submit an opponent. Thus, he had to step in.

“Secondly, you can’t clinch him or submit him with his hand jacked, so sometimes you can risk injuries in a fight. Against a guy like Tony Ferguson, who likes to hit people with those elbows, I just thought it was the right decision. … Tony is a hell of a fighter, his numbers speak for themselves and so his performances. Anthony was just so close to taking him out and he’s very resilient warrior.”

Outside Looking In

The longtime coach understands the results of the actions that a fighter accepts. However, he always keeps his fighter’s health in safety as his prime-time goal.

“The medical care that was given at my day to fighters was garbage,” Roufus said. “I have so many bad injuries I’m living with, I wanna help guys and women I train not live the life I live because I live in pain daily.”