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Duke Roufus responds to the critics

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The UFC coach and kickboxing legend responds to former Roufusport teammembers who have chosen to condemn him and his gym in the aftermath of a brutal news report about a fighter's death.

Esther Lin

UFC coach Duke Roufus has finally spoken out in the aftermath of a scathing report by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the death of amateur kickboxer Dennis Munson, Jr. this Spring, which left many questioning promoter Ruofusport as well as the ringside physician and referee.

In the days since the report went online, former Roufusport fighters and coaches have been piling on with their criticisms of the coach and his camp. Ultimate Fighter competitor Rose Namajunas and former UFC fighter Eric Schafer (ex-Roufusport grappling coach) have been particularly vocal.

Roufus spoke to MMA Junkie:

"You know, when I see Rose and (former UFC fighter) Pat Barry, they don't seem disgruntled," Roufus said. "They're very nice to me. Pat asked me advice at the last Glory (kickboxing) event. Rose came and trained at our gym in spring. Eric Schafer, I know we've had some issues. I've tried to reach out ever since he left Roufusport, and he didn't want to ever sit down and chat with me. It's tough.

"I think they left in 2010," Roufus said. "It's 2014. If you look at the results of what the kids are doing right now, and just the evolution of MMA, things have changed. Back then, I don't think we embraced strength and conditioning as much. We were trying to spar ourselves into shape. My philosophy now, four short years later, is completely opposite of that.

"It's hard," Roufus said. "I don't hate them. I'm disappointed. I mean Rose, you're doing great stuff on ‘The Ultimate Fighter.' You have the ability to influence a lot of people, but if that's how you felt, why did you come to my gym to train in the spring, after Dennis had passed? This happened March 29. She came through after that to train with us."

Bloody Elbow will keep you updated on this story as it develops.