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Morning Report: Anthony Pettis defends 'father figure' Duke Roufus against 'one-sided' story

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Roufusport star pupil and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has managed to avoid being roped into much of the controversy surrounding his camp this week.

After the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published its investigation into the death of 24-year-old amateur Roufusport kickboxer Denis Munson Jr., the camp's patriarch, Duke Roufus, has come under fire by several high-profile former students over his coaching methods.

Just weeks out from making his Dec. 2 title defense to Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181, Pettis says he isn't concerned the situation will affect his preparation.

"Not at all," Pettis told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It's very sad, what happened. We all addressed it when it happened. It happened months ago. I wasn't in town when it happened, I heard about it. Of course, I'm friends with all these guys, I've met all these guys. It's sad. It's a sad thing that happened. We all know when we get in this Octagon or kickboxing ring, anything can happen. It's a rough sport, but no one imagines something like that would happen."

Pettis believes Roufus and his staff have been unfairly blamed for the accident, calling Munson's death the result of various moving parts.

"It just upsets me that people are taking to the blogs and their websites to directly attack the coaching as being the factor in what happened," said Pettis. "There's a lot of things that made that outcome. It wasn't one person's fault. It wasn't his[?] fault, it wasn't the referee's fault. It was a combination of a lot of things that led for this to happen. All we can do is take precautions and be safer next time."

Between inattentive ringside doctor Carlos Feliciano and seemingly dismissive referee Al Wichgers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's piece exposed plenty of red flags.

In video of the three-round bout obtained by police, a slumping Munson appears to be slapped in the face by Scott Cushman, Roufusport's longtime lead striking instructor.

"The thing that gets to me is that they're attacking guys that I look at as fatherly figures. My family, to me. This is a family here. When you attack one of us you attack all of us. I'm not getting too personal with it The truth will come out and then people will see how it is. For every bad story there's 100 people training in the gym that love the culture and love what's going on here."

Saying he's focused on his fight, Pettis believes Munson's death is being overshadowed by 'personal vendettas.'

"The truth will come out," said Pettis. "Everybody knows how Duke is. Duke's not hiding, he's doing interviews. He's talking to the media. The story was one-sided. We didn't address that story at all so it was one side. They can make it look however they want but the saddest thing is Denis dying. That's what it should be about."

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