This past weekend, “Wonderboy” and “Trailblazer” put on one of the year’s most memorable bouts as they headlined the UFC’s return to Orlando. Having both expressed their desire to put on a standup battle for the masses, the pair obliged across four rounds.
Following a frame that saw Holland take heavy damage whilst throwing little back in return, the fight was stopped in the corner, confirming the TKO victory for two-time title challenger Thompson.
The topic of corner stoppages has long been prevalent in mixed martial arts, and so coach Bob Perez received heavy praise in the aftermath of the UFC Orlando main event. Many credited him with the decision to stop his man taking unnecessary hits for the sake of making it to the final horn.
Cormier, however, believes there’s a false narrative surrounding the events that transpired inside the Amway Center.
Daniel Cormier: ‘The Coach Didn’t Stop The Fight, Holland Did’
During a recent episode of ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show, Cormier looked back on this past weekend’s headliner and the way in which it came to its conclusion ahead of the fifth and final round.
The former heavyweight and light heavyweight UFC titleholder attempted to correct the common perception, which has seen Holland’s coach praised for the decision to end the bout.
Cormier pointed to the conversation in the corner, which saw Holland alert his cornerman that he could no longer use his right hand. While Perez recalled asking his man whether he wanted to stop, it was “Trailblazer” who ultimately provided the answer that confirmed the fight’s stoppage.
“I gotta say this, though, and I don’t know how this is getting lost in the whole stoppage of the fight,” Cormier said. “Michael Bisping said something in round three, he goes, ‘Yes, it’s fun, but that was the first time I saw Kevin Holland look as though he had doubt across his mind in regards to the matchup.’ … Bob Perez ultimately did go and tell the official that the fight was off. But, Ryan (Clark), that decision was not made by Bob Perez. Kevin Holland made that decision.
“When he went to the corner after the fourth round, his coaches came in to corner him and coach him… he said, ‘I can’t,’ and he said, ‘Take the glove off me.’ Kevin Holland made that decision. That was him, at least to my eyes, saying, ‘I’m losing this fight, hand’s broken; I’m gonna live to fight another day.’ It sounds better when they say the coach threw in the towel. The reality is, the fighter made a decision,” Cormier added. “The coaches work for the fighter, and I don’t know why anyone has not isolated that audio… shed some light on what really happened.”
Despite that, it’s safe to say that not many will be taking credit away from Perez for listening to his fighter, especially given past instances where the opposite has occurred.
Perhaps most notably in recent times was the case of Max Roshkopf’s promotional debut at UFC Vegas 3. Ahead of the third round of his fight against Austin Hubbard, “Rated R” repeatedly told his corner to “call it,” a request that went ignored nine times.
Ultimately, it took a commissioner to hear Roshkopf’s desire to stop fighting before referee Mark Smith was told to wave the fight off.
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