'I own it': Coach's apology after controversial UFC corner act

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·Sports Reporter
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UFC fighter Aspen Ladd's coach Jim West has apologised for his aggressive cornering during her fighting comeback.
UFC fighter Aspen Ladd didn't appear to take the blunt instruction of her coach, Jim West, well during her UFC comeback last weekend. Picture: UFC/BT Sport

UFC coach Jim West has issued an apology after his aggressive attempts to fire up his fighter, Aspen Ladd, were labelled 'abusive'.

The 26-year-old Ladd made her highly anticipated UFC comeback last weekend, taking on Norma Dumont at Fight Night 195 in Las Vegas.

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Ladd's previous fight was way back in 2019, with several fights in between called off either due to injury or concerns over last-minute weight cuts.

It wasn't until last weekend that Ladd finally re-entered the Octagon, but it wasn't to be the hoped-for fairytale.

Dumont proved too strong, claiming the victory by unanimous decision.

Ladd appeared to be extremely tentative in the opening rounds, reluctant to throw too many strikes and generally putting up a fairly passive fight.

Her hesitancy didn't go unnoticed by West, who after initially encouraging her to start taking the fight onto her terms, began imploring his fighter to raise her intensity.

"Honestly, I don't know what you're doing. What are you waiting for?" he asked

“You have to go f***ing balls to the f***ing wall.

"You just f***ed around for three rounds. Let it go."

West's cornering style had paid off for him during Judd's last win - a 2019 TKO victory over Yana Kunitskaya, but it was abundantly clear his style was not helping during the last bout.

UFC great Miesha Tate was unimpressed.

Taking to Twitter, Take was highly critical of West's cornering, saying it was tantamount to 'abuse'.

“This is ABUSE, what a douche,” she wrote.

“He will take credit for her win but never for her loss. Trust me she can only take so much of this abuse before it breaks her spirit.”

UFC coach's statement after controversial Aspen Ladd cornering

West shared a statement of his own to Instagram, arguing that though he was simply trying to fire up his fighter, he nonetheless took responsibility for his role in the loss.

He apologised to Ladd 'from the bottom of my heart' and vowed things would be different in their next fight.

“Tonight was not our night,” he wrote.

“It’s been our night many many times at the highest level but not tonight. I blame myself. 

"Though it may not be my fault. it’s not up for debate. I take all the blame. 

"Yes after the first couple rounds I may have been a little harsh but I know Aspen and at that time technical conversation was not in the cards being down 3 rounds.

“Nonetheless I own it and I am sorry @aspenladd from the bottom of my heart [sic] I will continue to be better each time.”

After nearly two years out of the ring, Aspen Ladd's UFC comeback ended in a unanimous decision loss last weekend. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
After nearly two years out of the ring, Aspen Ladd's UFC comeback ended in a unanimous decision loss last weekend. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Ladd also put out some words following the fight, but didn't refer to West's coaching.

She said that it was time for her to take a step back and re-evaluate her next step in her fighting career.

“Not my night,” Ladd wrote on Instagram.

“Congrats to my opponent. We will be back better. In the mean time I finally got to get back in there after nearly 2 years. 

"Now it’s time to take a step back, take a breath, and get back to fighting and feeling like myself again. Onto the next.”

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