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Max Rohskopf endured a rough promotional debut at UFC on ESPN 11.
After accepting a fight against Austin Hubbard on less than one week’s notice, the previously unbeaten prospect gassed out in the second round and was battered on the feet by his opponent in an increasingly lopsided bout. Prior to the third round, Rohskopf asked for the fight to be halted, but cornerman Robert Drysdale can be overheard telling his fighter to push through. “I don’t have it. Call it,” Rohskopf responded.
Ultimately, Rohskopf’s reticence caught the attention of referee Mark Smith, who confirmed with the lightweight that he did not want to continue, and the fight was halted before the third round. Meanwhile, Nevada State Athletic Commission director Bob Bennett told ESPN that the exchange between Rohskopf and his corner would be investigated.
"That's something we will take a look at," Bennett said. "We might want to take disciplinary action on them. That doesn't sound like they are looking out for a fighter. Obviously, he didn't want to come out [and fight].”
Rohskopf’s manager, Brian Butler, told ESPN that the circumstances were too much to overcome.
"Max suffered from fatigue due to the short-notice weight cut combined with a pre-existing turf toe injury and was not able to overcome both," Butler said. "Didn't think the turf toe would become an issue but combined with the fatigue he just could not keep going. He is going to take some time off to heal up.”
In MMA culture, fighters are praised for the desire to “go out on their shield.” In this case, UFC president Dana White defended Rohskopf’s decision.
“Let me tell you what, in this f—-ing sport, if you’re done, you’re done,” White said at the UFC on ESPN 11 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 s—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.”
However, White was non-committal as to whether Rohskopf would get another chance in the Octagon.
“He’s got to get up tomorrow morning and look at himself in the mirror and figure out who he is and what he wants to do,” White said. “There is no shame in getting here and finding out you’re not it. There’s no shame in that at all.
“You gave it a shot, it didn’t work out. Anybody who would try to ridicule a kid like that, f—k you. Come try it. Come try and do what he did tonight. Very few people can do it.”
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