Rountree’s side kick to Bukauskas’ knee resulted in a TKO victory and ignited a debate among fighters over whether such techniques should be banned in the octagon. Bukauskas does not support such a move, he revealed on social media.
On his Instagram story, the UFC light heavyweight stood up for his opponent and said it was his responsibility to defend the technique that wound up hobbling him.
“Please give my opponent some slack, that kick was all good, it was my job to defend and I didn’t,” he wrote on Sunday. “Let the man enjoy his victory.”
Jeff Davidson, the UFC’s chief medical consultant, reportedly told UFC commentator Michael Bisping that Bukauskas had suffered multiple knee injuries including a blown ACL, MCL and PCL. Interviewing Rountree afterward, Bisping offered it was “not the finish he was looking for.” The result put Rountree back in the win column after a 1-3 run while handing Bukauskas his third straight loss.
In a video released later by UFC broadcast partner ESPN, Rountree is seen visiting his opponent backstage at the UFC APEX and wishing him a speedy recovery.
Khalil Rountree went to visit @balticgladiator after their fight, and despite an unfortunate outcome, it was nothing but respect between the opponents #UFCVegas36 (via @ufc) pic.twitter.com/X9KiAiyuFl— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 4, 2021
Rountree subsequently took to Instagram to reflect on the fight and its ending.
“Fighting has its ups and downs and although it’s entertaining to the masses is F*cking dangerous and anything can happen,” he wrote. “I spoke with my opponent after the match and wished him a speedy recovery because he will come back stronger and better as all great fighters do.”
In 2018, Rountree told FanSided he not only wanted to keep oblique kicks to the knee legal but expand the range of legal techniques to include soccer kicks and stomps. He cited his performance on The Ultimate Fighter 23, where he soccer-kicked Muhammad Dereese in the body en route to a TKO win, as proof of his approval.