While Max Holloway had one of the best performances of his career at UFC Fight Island 7, Calvin Kattar may have had the worst night of his life. “The Boston Finisher” went through a lengthy beating and absorbed 445 out of the former champion’s record-breaking 744 significant strikes.
Even Dana White, who's been in the fight game for nearly 30 years, was left “freaked out” by what he saw. The UFC president legitimately feared for Kattar’s life and believed the action should’ve been stopped in round four.
Kattar’s head coach Tyson Chartier apparently had the same thoughts during the round break entering the fourth stanza. But seeing his fighter’s demeanor while on the stool, he decided against it, last-minute.
“I went to the stool after the fourth round thinking we’re going to stop the fight,” Chartier told MMA Fighting. “Then he sat down and was like, ‘Are you good?’ Calvin said, ‘Yeah, I’m good. What’s up?’ And he was so clear in the way he spoke. His eyes were clear, he was coherent, he was still in the fight.
“It was tough. It would’ve been tough to stop it right there when you could tell he was still in it mentally, he didn’t seem to be wearing the damage that we were watching. It was tough.”
Chartier also admitted that he hoped referee Herb Dean would step in to put the fight to a halt. Then he sees Kattar fight back, which altered his sentiments.
“The only way to describe it is that I was looking for a reason to stop it and every time I was about to, he would give us a reason not to,” Chartier explained. It’s a tough spot to be in because you have the make a judgment call in real-time based on the facts that you’re presented.
“And, yeah, there was a couple of times I thought Herb was going to stop it, but he’s looking Calvin in the eye. I’m behind Calvin, so it’s like Herb has a better view than we do and Calvin is fighting back. He’s landing good shots.
“There was one point in the fourth round where I looked at Jake [Mainini], the Muay Thai coach, and I was like, ‘Dude, Max is getting tired.’ It was crazy because he was beating us up, but you could see it in his eyes like, ‘Ughh,’ and then he tried to wrestle, tried to take us down. He was getting tired from beating us up and then Calvin landed a good shot again and the round ended.”
For Chartier, to say he didn’t have his fighter’s well-being in mind that night is uncalled for. He feels he does not owe anyone an explanation, except for Kattar and his family.
“People are entitled to their opinion and they can say that I made a wrong choice, or I should’ve protected Calvin more, and that’s their opinion,” he stated. “They’re entitled to it and I respect it. But the one thing I won’t tolerate is people questioning my care for the fighters’ well-being.
“I’m concerned about the kid, he’s basically like a little brother to me. There’s nothing more important to me than these guys’ health. Maybe you don’t agree with that based on how this fight went and whatever, but there’s a reason that in 2017 I brought these guys out to the PI to get baseline tests with concussion protocols.
“It’s easy to sit back when you’re at home when you have the luxury of not being in the seat that we’re in, saying, ‘Oh, I would’ve stopped it.’ It’s easy to say that. I don’t think there is anyone that has spent more time on a mat with Calvin than I have.
“I know his whole team cares about him, his family cares about him, but there’s no one that can argue that they care more about Calvin than I do—I’m right up there with those people. At the end of the day, the only person I owe an explanation to is Calvin and his family. We’ve had those conversations and we’re good. We’re onto the next one.”
Chartier says Kattar is currently in “good spirits” as he heals up from injury. The 32-year-old Methuen, Massachusetts native will spend the next six months on medical suspension.