Pettis suffered the defeat because after suffering a broken hand during the bout, coach Duke Roufus decided to end the bout so Pettis wouldn’t suffer any further harm. Roufus says that Pettis’ inability to properly defend himself in the third round is why the fight was called off.
”Stylistic, this is a guy you can’t jab and grab and coast like boxing or muay thai with your hand damaged,” Roufus said on The MMA Hour. “Here’s the thing, Tony Ferguson is a very mean elbow expert. If you know anything about muay thai, the only thing that keeps an elbow expert off of you is hard punching and good clinching. With Anthony’s hand damaged, he couldn’t keep him off of getting elbowed. Secondly, you can’t clinch him or submit him with his hand jacked, so sometimes you can risk injuries in a fight. Against a guy like Tony Ferguson, who likes to hit people with those elbows, I just thought it was the right decision. … Tony is a hell of a fighter, his numbers speak for themselves and so his performances. Anthony was just so close to taking him out and he’s very resilient warrior.”
The loss was the first suffered by Pettis since returning to the lightweight division earlier this year.
Roufus isn’t getting fired by Pettis for what happened at UFC 229, but the coach still stands by his decision, job on the line or not.
”If you fire me because I stopped your fight I can live with that, no problem,” Roufus said. “And you’re gonna see me do that more because what I love more about MMA is a loss doesn’t define your career.”
An injured Pettis is expected to visit with doctors this week to see what kind of procedures, if any, needs to be done in order to heal the injured hand.