Rosi Sexton’s gender beatdown

Fighters are tough.

That’s not a statement of opinion, it’s a statement of fact.

Anybody — male or female — willing to put their body on

the line and step inside the cage and battle another person has

filled the toughness quotient on any application. Fighters are

inherently tough and never want out of a fight unless they are

either knocked out or submitted when they voluntary give up or go

to sleep.

Sometimes it’s the job of the referee or the fighter’s corners

to take the responsibility from the competitor when a situation

gets out of hand, and they can no longer defend themselves. The job

starts with the referee who is there for the safety of the

fighters, and then it falls to the corner, who are there to watch

over a competitor from the opening bell to the final horn to make

sure they will live to fight another day.

At UFC 166, Junior Dos Santos was battered, bloodied and bruised

in his fight with Cain Velasquez to the point where referee Herb

Dean nearly stepped in and stopped the massacre. Ultimately he

opted not to stop the fight, and Dos Santos survived until the

fifth and final round when the carnage was finally over when

Velasquez finished with a TKO. After the bout was over, UFC

president Dana White said numerous times that he believes the fight

should have been stopped in the third round or the corner should

have thrown in the towel for the safety and protection of their


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The point was driven home even further when it was revealed that

Dos Santos had memory lapses from the third round on, not even

remembering what happened at certain points in the fight.

A week later at the UFC Fight Night card in Manchester, England

Jessica Andrade battled Rosi Sexton in what ended up being a very

one-sided fight. Andrade pummeled Sexton with punches throughout

the three round affair, opening up several combinations while

pinning her opponent against the cage for a barrage of strikes.

Several times during the bout, color commentator Joe Rogan stated

emphatically that the fight should be stopped or the corner should

throw in the towel.

Both during and after the event there was a general outcry from

the public who agreed with Rogan that the referee should have

stopped the fight, especially after the second round when Andrade

out landed Sexton 91 to 24 in significant strikes. One has to

wonder, however, if this argument is being made out of a

reactionary response to what we all just witnessed a week earlier

with the Velasquez vs. Dos Santos fight?

In UFC history there have only been a handful of cases where the

corner of a fighter has thrown in the towel. One of the most

notable occasions was at UFC 94 when BJ Penn suffered an exhausting

beat down courtesy of Georges St-Pierre and after the fourth round

his corner signaled the referee and the doctor to say they were

calling a stop to the fight. Now only a week after the UFC

president was calling for corners to be more responsible for the

safety of their athletes do we see a one-sided fight with cries of

‘throw in the towel!’.

Following the conclusion of the bout, Sexton took to Twitter and

Facebook to explain her side of the situation. She claims she was

never out on her feet or hurt to the point of not being able to

defend herself and outside of a couple of black eyes, she’s

perfectly healthy as well. Sexton even took a swipe at Rogan, who

was the one making the suggestion over and over again during the

fight that it should have been stopped.

“48 hours post fight — I have two black eyes, otherwise

I’m 100-percent fine. You could have given me an IQ test as I

stepped out of the cage, and I’d still have scored higher than Joe

Rogan,” Sexton wrote.

“Once more for the record,” Sexton continued on Twitter. “In my

opinion Neil Hall (the referee) and the doctor who saw me at the

end of the 2nd were totally correct not to stop that fight.”

Now as we’ve already established in the very beginning of this

discussion, fighters are tough and sometimes too tough for their

own good, but if we start picking apart every bout where one

fighter is being dominated or out struck by wide margins then the

entire sport of mixed martial arts is about to change.

For instance, heavyweight Roy Nelson is routinely praised for

his concrete chin and ability to absorb punishment. In his fight

against Stipe Miocic at UFC 161, Nelson landed a grand total of 23

significant strikes over the course of 15 minutes while being

bludgeoned by his opponent 106 times. Miocic unloaded on Nelson at

will, especially in the early going when much like Andrade vs.

Sexton, he had his opponent pinned against the cage unloading like

a machine gun to a fighter who just refused to go down.

As a matter of fact in Nelson’s career with the UFC, he’s

absorbed 511 significant strikes — a record breaking number

in the promotion — and he’s never been knocked out. Nelson’s

chin and willingness to take punishment for the chance to uncork

one of his famous right hands is celebrated despite the fact that

in all five of his UFC losses, Nelson has been defeated by

unanimous decision each time and never had a late round comeback

despite his rock hard chin and sponge like ability to absorb


What about the lightweight battle between Nate Diaz and Donald

‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 141? Diaz landed 238 significant strikes to

Cerrone, who countered with 96 of his own. Andrade hit 208 strikes

to Sexton, who came back with 88 of her own. Percentage wise, Diaz

battered Cerrone worse than Andrade did Sexton, but there were no

outcries that the fight went on too long or the corner should have

thrown in the towel.

So then the question becomes is this one of those uncomfortable

times where the women’s fighters are being judged differently than

the men? If you change Rosi Sexton’s name to Roy Nelson is she then

being applauded as a tough-as-nails fighter who just refuses to go


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The fact is Sexton came out on the losing end of the fight, and

the judges’ scores reflected that with the final tallies being

30-26, 30-26 and 30-27. But to Sexton’s credit after a terrible

beating sustained in the second round, she actually had her best

effort in the fight. She scored 42 significant strikes in the final

round, which was her highest output for the entire night and Sexton

ended the fight on her feet still battling back, stepping forward

and winging punches with Andrade.

If the conversation is about when a fighter is being too tough

for their own good or when to account for too much punishment in a

fight, then that’s a subject worth putting under the microscope but

it has to go there without an ounce of gender bias. Referees and

corners need to undergo training and watch fight footage and have

to understand when enough is enough and be willing to make those

calls regardless of the public backlash that may occur because a

fight was deemed as stopped too early. The same goes for corners

who are there on behalf of the fighters, and they need to be

willing to stop the action and deal with the fallout from fellow

coaches and the fighter for making a judgment call.

If that’s not the case then the other truth in this entire

ordeal must be held infallible from Joe Rogan to fans to

journalists and critics alike — what goes for Rosi Sexton

also goes for Roy Nelson, Donald Cerrone and every other UFC

fighter on the roster — if it’s too much for one of them,

it’s too much for all of them.