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Morning Report: Benoit Saint-Denis’ coach defends choice at UFC 267: ‘Never in my life would I have thrown in the towel’

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UFC 267: Zaleski dos Santos v Saint Denis Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

This past Saturday on the undercard of UFC 267, Elizeu Zaleski and Benoit Saint-Denis battled in what would become one of the most talked about fights of the evening, not because it was so good, but because the bout continued long after it should have been stopped.

After a first round that saw both Zaleski and Saint-Denis have moments of success, the tenor of the welterweight bout turned dramatically in the second when Zaleski hurt Saint-Denis badly with strikes about halfway into the round. Zaleski tried to follow up and finish the French fighter however, Saint-Denis never actually left his feet and referee Vyacheslav Kiselev refused to halt the bout despite the horrendous amount of punishment Saint-Denis was absorbing. So bad was the onslaught that during the round, commentator Daniel Cormier began shouting for the referee to intervene. Saint-Denis ended up surviving until the end of the round but things only got worse from there as early in the third round, Saint-Denis was inadvertently poked in the eye by Zaleski and after a short break, Kiselev restarted the bout despite Saint-Denis telling him that he could not see. Ultimately, Saint-Denis made it to the final horn where he ended up losing a unanimous decision and Kiselev shortly thereafter was relieved of his duties for the remainder of the evening.

In the aftermath, much ado has been made over the abhorrent refereeing by Kiselev, but Kiselev is not the only one at fault. Saint-Denis’ corner has also been the target of criticism for not throwing in the towel and during the fight, the UFC commentary team of Cormier, Jon Anik, and Paul Felder questioned Saint-Denis’ corner for sending their fighter back out for the third round. But despite this criticism, and even his own admission that the referee could have stopped the bout, Saint-Denis’ coach Daniel Woirin, said he never even considered protecting his fighter.

“Never in my life would I have thrown in the towel,” Woirin told BoxeMag (translation via Google). “The referee it’s true that he could have stopped it at one point, I thought he was going to stop it but he didn’t.”

“Benoit has been able to pull himself together in phases. He took a lot of punches but he was able to pull himself together, which allowed him to survive. This is the fight, the fight is hard, you must not be... people are too sensitive. Benoit is a warrior, for his first fight in the UFC he will lose before the (time) limit? It’s not possible. We also discussed it after the fight and he told me that I was right not to throw in the towel. It didn’t even pass a second in my head, not even a second and you can see he got back into the fight.”

Not only did Woirin defend his own inaction in the bout though, he also defended Kiselev’s choice not to stop the fight, saying that though another referee probably would have intervened, not doing so was what Saint-Denis wanted, and in the end, he is very pleased with the fight.

“He had a great fight,” Woirin said. “The guy he took is a top-12, the guy has 30 fights, 14 knockouts. Benoit had a great fight, I’m really happy. In fact you know, when you are in the cage you don’t want to be stopped. That’s why I used to shout at Benoit sometimes to try to stick around and not stay inactive. When you stay inactive, the referee can stop you. Honestly I think if it wasn’t for him, another referee would have stopped him. The fact that he didn’t stop him ultimately made the fight even more interesting as Benoit picked up the pace behind. It was amazing, even I was stunned you know.”


Results. Glover Teixeira and Petr Yan claimed gold at UFC 267.

Comeback. Jan Blachowicz vows to make another run at UFC title: ‘I’m not a coward, I will not quit’.

Class Act. Jon Jones roasts Jan Blachowicz after UFC 267: ‘See what happens when you’re talking sh*t’.

Title Shot. Islam Makhachev calls for UFC title shot: ‘I have to wake up my division’.

Pay Attention. Dana White reveals what Khamzat Chimaev shouted at him during his fight at UFC 267.

Negligence. ‘Worst job of officiating at a UFC event ever:’ Pros react to shocking refereeing negligence at UFC 267.


UFC 267 Post Show.

UFC 267 Post Fight Press Conference.

UFC 268 Countdown.

Bellator top finishes in October.

Phone. Booth. Lethwei. This Friday.


On To The Next One. Matches to making following UFC 267.

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC 267, Bellator Dublin, and the PFL.



Good sport.

Next up.


Champ and future champ.

Aljamain Sterling.



Kyle Daukaus (10-2, 1 NC) vs. Roman Dolidze (9-1); UFC Vegas 42, Nov. 13.


Congratulations to Glover Teixeira. What a journey and what a story. 2021 appears to be a year for feel-good champions.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



Who wins this weekend?

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