Max Rohskopf had the courage to step in and take his first UFC fight on six days’ notice.
It didn’t go well as the 25-year-old lightweight took a two-round beating from Austin Hubbard in the opening fight of Saturday night’s UFC on ESPN 11 card. Against his corner’s objections, he then opted out of the fight, giving Hubbard what goes into the books as a TKO win.
Rohskopf, who was undefeated in five professional fights before Saturday, doesn’t look quite ready to compete on the highest level. But while UFC president Dana White never has hesitated to shoot harsh words at anyone he feels deserves them, he wasn’t about to pile on Rohskopf.
“Let me tell you what: In this (expletive) sport, if you’re done, you’re done,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the post-fight news conference at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. “You should absolutely be able to quit. I know that it’s frowned upon, but guess what? Anybody that would talk (expletive) about you quitting isn’t in there fighting. It’s real easy to be a critic. With what these kids do, this is a whole ‘nother level, man. … When you get here, this is a whole different level, man.”
Many years ago, White had dreams of becoming a boxer in his hometown of Boston. It didn’t pan out, and he instead launched on the path that led him to become UFC president. As someone who didn’t make it as a fighter, he’s not about to rip someone like Rohskopf, who chased after his dream but didn’t get all the way there.
“I believed back in the day that I was a fighter and wanted to do this and that, and one day I found out that I wasn’t,” White said. “The realization was that I wasn’t. When you find out, you need to walk away. I’m not saying that’s the case with this kid. But if that kid felt like he needed to quit tonight, who the (expletive) is anybody to judge him on that? He had the balls to come here and fight and take a short-notice fight in the UFC.”
Whether Roshkopf continues with his fight career is something he’ll have to figure out for himself. But White finished his thoughts with a pointed message for anyone who might be tempted to kick Roshkopf while he’s down.
“He’s gotta get up tomorrow and look himself in the mirror and figure out who he is and what he wants to do,” White said. “There is no shame in getting here and finding out that you’re not it. There’s no shame in that at all. He gave it a shot, didn’t work out. Anybody who would try to ridicule a kid like that, (expletive) you. Come try it. Come try and do what he did tonight. Very few people can do it.”