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A little more than a month ago, many observers pleaded with Anthony Smith’s corner to stop the fight as “Lionheart” endured a pummeling at the hands of Glover Teixeira in the UFC Fight Night 171 headliner.
Smith ultimately lost via TKO in the fifth round, and UFC president Dana White admitted at the post-fight press conference that he was surprised the light heavyweight was allowed to come out for the final frame. In later interviews, Smith took full responsibility and emphasized that he was not a victim because he wanted to stay in the fight as long as he possibly could.
However, Smith has a different perspective on what went down at UFC on ESPN 11 last weekend, when newcomer Max Rohskopf asked repeatedly for his fight with Austin Hubbard to be stopped prior to the third round. While Rohskopf’s coach, Robert Drysdale, urged the fighter to continue, the lightweight bout was ultimately halted before the final period.
“It was frustrating to watch,” Smith told TMZ Sports. “I think that the reaction from fans and other fighters was more frustrating, especially given the situation that I was in not that long ago.
“I get it, the kid is young, he’s facing adversity possibly for the first real time in his career. He thinks he doesn’t have it or maybe he needs encouragement. But I believe he asked out 9 times. This isn’t g--damn Bloodsport.”
Drysdale has since responded to the criticism of his cornering and says that he stands by his methods. According to Drysdale, Rohskopf’s issues were mental more than physical, and there was still a chance to pull out a decision victory.
Smith disagrees, primarily because it was Rohskopf asking out of the fight himself. In Smith’s case, it was the fighter pushing for the right to continue – an entirely different scenario.
“Not all of us think the same,” Smith said. “Not everybody is me. It’s just different. He’s a young kid and he wanted out, get him the f—k out of there. He wanted to go home. He said he didn’t have it. He said he didn’t want to do this any more.
“That’s different from just being down on yourself and needing a pick me up. That’s way deeper than that. And then to see fans and other fighters stood by Drysdale? Listen, I respect Drysdale as much as anyone in the game. That guy is a pioneer in the jiu-jitsu world, I’m a huge fan of his. But, he messed up. He messed up. That needs to be said. This isn’t the same situation as mine. I did everything I could to stay in there, and he was doing everything he could possibly do to get out.
“If you say I want out, and I want to quit. That’s your decision. You should be allowed to do that anytime you want. Whether or not he was afraid that his fighter was going to regret it after that, that’s another deal,” he said. “That’s on him. If he’s gonna regret it, that’s his fault. I don’t think that’s Drysdale’s spot.” Smith believes that while many in the MMA community have come out in support of Drysdale after the controversy, his own coach, Marc Montoya of Factory X, wasn’t given the same benefit of the doubt last month.
“It’s just odd to me to see these other fighters [saying], “That’s a great decision, that’s exactly what he should have done.’ Well what the f—k were you guys saying a month ago? When Marc Montoya was a piece of s—t because he left me out there like I wanted to be? Like I asked to be? And Marc’s a piece of s—t for that, but this kid’s begging for a way out and his coach did a great job by not giving it to him?
“Come on, man. This is a double standard. A lot of it is because Drysdale is so respected, and nobody wants to say anything sideways about him or to him. I understand that, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that Marc Montoya is a bad coach for letting me do what I wanted to do, and then say Robert Drysdale made a great decision by leaving his guy in there, or potentially leaving him in there, when he’s begging for a way out.”
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