What mattered most at UFC on ESPN+ 29 in Jacksonville, Fla.? Here are a few post-fight musings …

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1. Anthony Smith’s corner failed him

Before we move on to praising Glover Teixeira for his thorough victory in the main event, we must address the biggest discussion point, and that’s whether Anthony Smith’s corner failed him by not stopping the fight before the referee did in the fifth round.

In short: Yes, they did.

Smith is named “Lionheart” for a reason, but even this was too much. Referee Jason Herzog could’ve easily stopped the fight when Smith was dropped in the early rounds, but fine, he gave Smith a chance to get back in the fight. It only took a few moments before it became abundantly obvious a rally wasn’t happening, and at that point Smith should’ve been saved by someone. Anyone.

To his credit, Smith moved every time Herzog told him to show something up until the merciful final sequence. Smith used veteran tactics to avoid the stoppage as long as possible, but when it become apparent he wasn’t going to quit, that’s when the corner needed to do its duty.

I’m not the slightest bit surprised Smith said he was OK with how the fight played out and had no issue with his corner work. That’s what he’s supposed to say, and he’s not going to turn his back on his team. But seriously, that was bogus. And if there’s any doubt, just look at Smith’s list of post-fight injuries. One can only wonder how many of those occurred after the initial knockdown.

Factory X coach Marc Montoya was in the corner and had the power to stop it. This isn’t the first time a situation like this has come up involving him. I’ll never forget the horrific beating Mike Davis handed Thomas Gifford at UFC on ESPN+ 19 in October, and Montoya was in the corner for that, too.

Sadly, other than some public and media scrutiny, no one’s feet will be held to the flame over this situation. The cornermen will be right back at the next event for their next fighter, and the world will go on.

Smith’s the one who has to take the worst of it, because it’s going to take some time for him to get back to full health. An even then, there’s no telling if the damage absorbed will change him for the worse. It’s truly sad, and something that could’ve been minimized if the people around Smith did a better job protecting him.