The UFC fighter involved in a controversial corner situation wants critics to stop blasting his coach.
Max Rohskopf told his coach and head cornerman, Robert Drysdale, to end Rohskopf's fight nine times during the one-minute rest period between the second and third rounds at Saturday's UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. Rohskopf told Drysdale he didn't have it for that bout and repeatedly said the coach should "call it." Drysdale attempted to egg Rohskopf on to continue, despite the pleas.
Video of the situation spread on social media, causing many to criticize the coach. Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett told ESPN's Ariel Helwani on Saturday night after the bout that the commission would "take a look at" the situation and could consider disciplinary action against Drysdale for "not looking out for a fighter."
On Wednesday, Rohskopf told MMAFighting.com that he believes Drysdale did the right thing -- and exactly what Rohskopf wanted him to do. The coach, Rohskopf said, is being unfairly blasted.
"For people to come out and say that he was wrong in that situation, there's literally no debate or discussion about it," Rohskopf said. "At the end of the day, I'm the one paying him. And that's what I wanted him to do. And that's what I expected him to do. And if I was cornering someone else, that's exactly what I would have done. There's really no discussion about it. Rob did the right thing, and he's always done right by me."
Eventually, when the rest period was over, Rohskopf and Drysdale told nearby NSAC inspector Charvez Foger that Rohskopf no longer wanted to compete. The referee called the bout, and Austin Hubbard, Rohskopf's opponent, was awarded a TKO victory.
Rohskopf said that if Foger had not been there, he likely would have continued on for the third round. Hubbard was ahead 20-17, 20-17, 19-18 going into the third round and was coming off a dominant performance in the second, which the judges ruled 10-8 in his favor.
On Sunday, Rohskopf said he called Drysdale, a former UFC fighter and champion Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor, to check in on him because of all the criticism the coach was receiving. The two have a close relationship. Rohskopf once lived with Drysdale.
"If the commissioner wasn't there, [Drysdale] would have got me back, I think," Rohskopf said. "I would have went out there, and we wouldn't be having this conversation. The man f---ing gave me a place to live when I needed somewhere to live, so I'm not living in my f---ing car. I actually didn't want anything to do with MMA until I knocked on his door and I was like, 'Hey man, I need help, and I want you to coach me.' And he's done nothing but be there for me and do everything he can for me.
"He doesn't deserve [criticism] at all. He only deserves praise for helping me to get where I got. And trying to do everything he can for someone like me that just asked for it and not really [getting] anything [in] return of value."
Drysdale told ESPN on Monday he stood by his decision and he was attempting to motivate Rohskopf in the corner. Rohskopf backed that up on Wednesday, saying one of his weaknesses is giving up too soon and that he expects Drysdale to push him as a coach and mentor.
"That just comes from me, and people who know me and people who talk to me are gonna understand this kind of deeply," Rohskopf said. "I'm so ambitious that walking around just day to day I'm almost never happy. I'm always trying to do better and get better. My weakness is sometimes I will try to run away from what's happening, because I kind of hurt a little bit every single day trying to do something I want more than anything. And it's hard sometimes when you have things [that] aren't the way you want it to be."
Rohskopf (5-1) was making his UFC debut against Hubbard on just six days' notice due to Hubbard's initial opponent withdrawing. An Ohio native who now lives and trains in Las Vegas, Rohskopf was undefeated coming in. He said he has been dealing with a nagging turf toe issue but that it didn't affect the bout. Rohskopf did say he felt like he just didn't have it that night about two minutes into the fight with Hubbard.
Regarding another chance in the UFC, Rohskopf isn't sure if that will come to fruition. But he said he firmly belongs in the biggest MMA promotion in the world based on past performances in the cage and in the gym. This situation, he said, is just a bump in the road.
"I think that it's just up to me now to take those lessons and put them to use," Rohskopf said.