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Harsh or helpful? Watch what Aspen Ladd’s coach said between rounds at UFC Vegas 40

Aspen Ladd’s corner has been criticized for being too harsh on their fighter.

Apen Ladd takes advice from her corner between rounds of her recent loss to Norma Dumont.
Aspen Ladd at UFC Vegas 40.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

At last weekend’s UFC Vegas 40 Norma Dumont beat Aspen Ladd in a, let’s face it, terribly boring fight. Ladd came into the featherweight five round main event on late notice, just a week removed from a frightening scene on the scales that saw her pulled from UFC Vegas 39.

During the fight it was hard not to notice the feedback Ladd was getting between rounds from her head coach Jim West. Many viewers felt West was being overly harsh to the young fighter, who had lost every round heading into the 4th.

West’s words were enough to prompt former UFC champion Miesha Tate to accuse him of “abuse.” This wasn’t the first time Tate has criticized West online. The coach called ‘Cupcake’ a “coward” for her comments regarding Ladd’s recent weigh-in debacle.

However, some figures—including Daniel Cormier and Laura Sanko—commended West for his approach. Recently BT Sport shared footage from the corner cam showing West and Ladd’s interactions from every single round. Those videos show much more of what West had to say to his fighter.

“Please tell me what you’re doing,” West said before the fourth round (ht MMA Fighting). “You have to throw more than one punch. You have to get into the f*cking fight. It’s time to fight. It’s the fourth round, you’re down 3-0. Pick it up. Fight to win. Fight to win every second of every round. You have to finish this broad now. You’re down 3-0, you have to pick it up. That doesn’t mean be careless, but lead from the backside, set the combinations up, and change levels. Continue to try and wear her down, but if you don’t pick up the pace, she’s gonna continue to stay on the outside and try to pick you apart with a simple one-two. That’s all she’s doing. You’ve got to pick it up, you’re down 3-0.”

Ladd showed some improvement in the fourth round. However, West was still not pleased heading into the final stanza.

“Honestly, I don’t know what you’re doing,” he said. “You close the distance and then you’re jumping out. I don’t know what you’re waiting for. What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? You have cardio for f*cking days, push the f*cking pace. You have to. You have to go f*cking balls to the f*cking wall, caution to the wind and you’ve gotta f*cking go. You’re down, basically, 4-0, you may have won that last round. Either way, you have to f*cking finish her. So I don’t know what you’re doing, you have to leave every ounce of you out there.

“You just f*cked around for three f*cking rounds, now you’re down 3-1, maybe. You’ve got to pick it up. Let it all go, let it go. Throw the power shots, sit on your sh*t.”

Ladd went on to win the fifth round, but that wasn’t enough to get her hand raised.

After the fight West posted on Instagram that he may have been “a little harsh” in the corner. “I blame myself,” he wrote. “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 three rounds. Nonetheless I own it and I am sorry [Ladd] from the bottom of my heart I will continue to be better each time.”

The loss to Dumont was the second pro loss of Ladd’s career. Her first loss was a 16 second KO to Germaine de Randamie in 2019. Around those losses Ladd has secured TKO wins over Yana Kunitskaya, Tonya Evinger and Lina Lansberg.