This past weekends UFC card sadly highlighted an issue that is far too common among the combat sports that exist today and that is corners refusing to protect their fighters. We have seen it before but between this weekend and another event a few weeks ago this issue is coming to a head and soon athletic commissions may need to act.
Enough is Enough, Corners Must Protect Their Fighters
As mentioned, this past weekend had another example of how corners have been negligent in regards to “throwing in the towel” on behalf of its fighters. In the Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos versus Benoit Saint Denis they had a competitive first round but it was round two that the flood gates opened up.
dos Santos landed a big right hand on Saint Denis and visibility wobbled him and from there he landed dozens of unanswered shots but the French Special Forces member in Saint Denis would not go down. At one point dos Santos even looked at the referee, Vyacheslav Kiselev but he had no interest in stopping the fight.
The gross negligence displayed by referee Vyacheslav Kiselev is one thing but the negligence displayed by Saint Denis’ corner is on another level. Saint Denis would survive the round and make it to his corner but they did not even entertain the thought of calling the fight for a moment. The fight would go to the judge’s scorecards and Benoit Saint Denis would take more unnecessary punishment in round three.
Former title challenger, Dan Hardy has been vocal about referee’s not doing their job efficiently, most notably in his fall out with Herb Dean following the controversial stoppage of Jai Herbert‘s debut. He also has been extremely vocal about the CB Dolloway vs. Khalid Murtazaliev fight back in 2018.
You could have clapped your hands five times while Herbert was staring into space, and Trinaldo was hesitating.
This was worse though… the original ‘stop the fight’ fight. https://t.co/14yCg7G5pN
— Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) October 31, 2021
Cornermen Ignore the Dangers
One of his cornermen would be asked by BoxingMag.com about the whole thing post-fight and they gave an interesting answer:
“Never in my life would I have thrown in the towel…the referee could have stopped it…but he didn’t.”
How? How is that a possible statement to be uttered by someone whose sole responsibility is to protect their fighter? Did Saint Denis make it all three rounds? Yes. Should he have made it that long? No. The corner had a responsibility when the referee failed to do his. If someone gets drunk at a bar, the bartender failed. If that person is drunk with friends it’s their responsibility to make sure he doesn’t drive home drunk. If someone drives home drunk and makes it home safely we don’t celebrate it do we? So why are we celebrating someone taking any unnecessary shots when a corner could have and should have stopped it?
We go over to boxing at we see the same thing though, on an even higher profile of a fight.
Deontay Wilder and his trainer Malik Scott both said no towel would be thrown in after the complaints Wilder had in his second Fury fight. Scott was quoted by Tuscaloosa News saying he wouldn’t throw in the towel no matter how bad things got.
What are we doing here? This is criminal behaviour, the beauty of combat sports is stripped away when we stop protecting the fighters and it starts with the corners of these fighters.