Sage Northcutt suffered his first knockout loss in brutal fashion at the hands of kickboxer Cosmo Alexandre at ONE Championship: Enter the Dragon over the weekend. The one shot punch resulted in Northcutt incurring eight facial fractures that required an “intense nine-hour operation.”
But apparently, the road to Northcutt’s ONE Championship debut was riddled with a few obstacles, according to Team Alpha Male head coach Urijah Faber. On Monday’s episode of the MMA Hour, the UFC Hall-of-Famer admitted that there were apprehensions from their end coming into the fight.
“There’s a lot of stuff going into this fight, he’d had to pull out a couple of different times on dates, it’s been almost 10 months since he actually had a fight,” Faber said (via MMA Fighting). “Didn’t get to see him follow through with practices for a long time now because of some little injuries.
“In retrospect, there were some warning signs maybe not to take this fight and like you said, it’s not like you go into a fight thinking you’re gonna get your face smashed.”
In hindsight, Faber looked back on what they could’ve done differently, while not discrediting their opponent’s skill.
“But against some advice, the fight was taken, not that we don’t believe in Sage absolutely, in the future I’d like to see him at 170 pounds and I’d like to see him at least be able to follow through with an entire camp or at least more than he was able to,” Faber said. “Again, that’s not the reason why he lost the fight. He fought a great competitor and it’s his first time in the ring and kind of a freak of a thing happened with his face shattering like that I feel like.
“In the future, maybe coaches having the final say on whether or not a guy goes out there is a good idea and I think talking to his father who loves Sage very much and believes in him, hard lesson learned for all of us.”
Northcutt competed under ONE’s welterweight banner, with 185 pounds as the maximum limit. For Faber, another factor could be the promotion company’s lack of transparency in terms of weigh-in results.
“Sage is such a faith-based guy and takes things as they’re said. Of course, everybody’s cutting weight,” Faber said. “I was kind of trying to wrap my head around the thing and you have to do a hydration test and they weigh you in a couple of days in a row, so it makes it really difficult. But I talked to multiple guys there that were cutting weight and it is what it is.
“That wasn’t the main problem there. Cosmo’s an incredible fighter, seasoned Muay Thai kickboxer, 7-1 as a mixed martial artist,” he added. “Just came across the ring and landed a nasty punch and ended it for Sage there.”
Faber added that Northcutt splintered his cheek into 30 pieces and broke an orbital bone in the process. The 23-year-old fighter is still in Singapore, recovering from the operation.