Following a Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal investigation into the death this spring of Roufusport amateur kickboxer Dennis Munson, Jr., controversy has enveloped the team with ex-coaches and fighters coming forward to rip coach Duke Roufus and his team.
Here's what he had to say:
"If you guys don't already know I have trained at roufusport for about 5 years now. All this stuff coming out about bad coaching and so forth is ridiculous. Personally from someone trained under duke and Cush both these guys are great men and great teachers. Me having a rough time in my career right now I can still tell you these guys care and don't just feed people to the wolves, they are very passionate about what they do and truly care. From roses standpoint she talks about leaving because she didn't care for anybody, but then thinks it's disrespectful they didn't pick her up on the show. I can tell you she was in our gym this year and got kicked off the mat for punching someone in the face after the bell rung. To say he only cares about elite fighters is ridiculous. He teaches kid classes to intermediate kickboxing classes he could hire other people, but he does it and is working 24/7. Just want to get my opinion out."
Former Rufousport grappling coach Eric Schafer took to Sqor to elaborate on his previous comments about the camp:
Eric Schafer - I only chimed in to support my friends Rose and Pat who where/are being called rats and liars about the training situations at the gym... I left there 4 years ago, and maybe it has changed from the admitted "chaotic" days when I was there. Maybe when I saw Matt Mitrione get green lighted to beat Ben Rothwell out of the gym, things have not happened like that again. Why would we want 3 quality heavyweights in the gym when 2 was enough? Makes no sense to me, but I am sure it did somehow. They all seemed to be good guys, but maybe Maybe some of the claims are exaggerated like Danny Boy Downes told MMAJunkie, but they did not seem exaggerated when he ranted to me for over 10 minutes at a UFC event about how much he hated Duke and I even heard my favorite quote about how Danny can't wait until everyone finds out that the "emperor has no clothes". Only a man of Danny's intelligence would use a Hans Christian Andersen reference to insult Duke. :) Maybe the coaches like Ryan, Chris, Tony, Aaron, Kyle, and others who were treated like shit and/or lied to all left before it was cleaned up. Maybe the bullying and hazing of fighters and just naive students has ended. Maybe I should not have left after Anthony Pettis pulled up to me and wrestling coach Chris Senner who were doing sprints outside the gym during a noon session and told me that Duke told him that he didn't think he needed me to help corner Pettis against Shane Roller, but Anthony argued to get me back in the corner, because he wanted my help to beat the grappler. Anthony asked if I could help get the training camp going, since the gym was so emotionally defeated at the time and no one was training. Even though I decided that this would be my last camp at Roufusport at that very moment, I still studied Roller, got the fighters and wrestlers to help out, and gave it my all to help him win. Maybe when I convinced a bunch of wrestler kids to help out Anthony fight Roller and Chico fight Chase Beebe (fight fell through) because we needed help working their takedown defense, maybe I should not have gotten upset when Duke walked in halfway through practice and yelled at the guys to start beating these guys up, even though we promised that we would take it easy on them because they were not fighters, and they were going out of their way to help out. I know that Chico apologized to the wrestler that he had to start beating him up to avoid the wrath of Duke, but maybe that has all changed... The truth is that I was truly hurt when I was in the ring after the Roller fight was ended by a triangle choke, and Duke told Anthony to thank Pat (who has was injured for the entire camp), Belcher, who lives in Mississippi and wasn't there for the camp, and Ben Askren who was there for 2 days for the camp, but not me. It was okay, because I was already checked out, but I would have at least liked a thank you. When I left, Pettis asked why I was leaving when he had finally earned the title shot, and I just replied sadly that "I have to". He nodded and knew I was emotionally done. Maybe those "chaotic" days are over... I hope so. I have blocked Duke and the gym from my life as much as possible. I still get messages from people saying that it has not changed, but maybe it has. Maybe it wasn't Rick Glenn who came to my gym last winter saying that he was sick of the bullying of the fighters there. Maybe it wasn't Chico who was looking for help in his last 3 UFC fights, because he had a falling out with Duke... I don't know most of the newer guys, but they all seem nice to me. I wish them the best. One of HIS associates said it best today to me "we deal with Duke because we need to, does anyone really like him?" I did not see the Dennis Munson Jr fight live... I am banned from his shows for "not respecting him". I heard plenty of horrible stories about the fight. I only saw the fight on Sunday morning, like everyone else, and I was horrified. I didn't think it was going to be as cut and dry as it was, but I hope justice will be served. I would never use this kid's death as a way to "stick it to Duke". Anything I said was purely in defense of Pat, Rose, and the countless testimonials that I have been seeing from other former members about the attitude at the gym. They are not rats or liars, just people who have been hurt. With that all said... I am done with this garbage. May this negative chapter in my life be finally over. It kinda feels good to get some of this stuff off my chest. Hopefully I never see or hear about Duke again. PS- If I disappear mysteriously, then you all know where to look :) - Red
Bloody Elbow will keep you updated as this story develops.