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Coach: Saint-Denis ‘told me that I was right not to throw in the towel’

Benoit Saint-Denis’ coach Daniel Woirin has no regrets after sitting on the towel and watching his man take a vicious beating at UFC 267.

UFC 267: Zaleski dos Santos v Saint Denis
Benoit Saint Denis took an epic beating at UFC 267 but his coach has no regrets
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

The UFC 267 preliminary bout between Elizeu Zaleski and Benoit Saint-Denis reignited MMA’s perennial controversy about corner stoppages and how much punishment a fighter should be expected to take in an MMA bout.

The fight saw Saint-Denis and Zaleski pretty evenly matched for the first round and a half but things changed mid-way through the second round. Zaleski caught Saint-Denis and really opened up on him but Saint-Denis never dropped and Ref Vyacheslav Kiselev refused to stop the bout.

The UFC commentators, especially Daniel Cormier were screaming for someone to stop the bout, but alas, no one did and the beating continued into the third. Things got even worse after Saint-Denis took a finger to the eye and even after he told the referee that he could not see, the bout was allowed to continue.

Referee Vyacheslav Kiselev was pulled from working any further matches at UFC 267 but not before Saint-Denis took his full measure of punishment.

But what about Saint-Denis’ corner? Shouldn’t they have stopped the fight to protect their fighter? Not according to Saint-Denis’ coach Daniel Woirin.

“Never in my life would I have thrown in the towel,” Woirin told BoxeMag (translation via MMA Fighting). “The referee it’s true that he could have stopped it at one point, I thought he was going to stop it but he didn’t.”

“Benoit has been able to pull himself together in phases. He took a lot of punches but he was able to pull himself together, which allowed him to survive. This is the fight, the fight is hard, you must not be... people are too sensitive. Benoit is a warrior, for his first fight in the UFC he will lose before the (time) limit? It’s not possible. We also discussed it after the fight and he told me that I was right not to throw in the towel. It didn’t even pass a second in my head, not even a second and you can see he got back into the fight.”

Well, there you go and here we are.