Darren Till has decided not to corner Chris Curtis at UFC London on Saturday.
The UFC middleweight was scheduled to fight Jack Hermansson in his much-anticipated return to the Octagon but withdrew after suffering an injury in training. The short-notice replacement for Till was Curtis, who proposed he still appear at UFC London as one of his cornermen. Till accepted, and Curtis saw it as a ‘win’ for everyone involved.
“I don’t have Sean [Strickland] in my corner,” said Curtis on The MMA Hour. “I get along great with Darren. He brings that same kind of energy, so why not? The fans will get to see Darren in front of his home town, and I get my corner out of it, so everybody wins.”
Till has had a change of mind, though. On Thursday, the ‘Gorilla’ revealed he would no longer corner ‘The Action Man’ out of respect for his original opponent Hermansson.
“I won’t be cornering Chris this weekend at UFC London, I feel it would be disrespectful to the whole situation after pulling out of the fight to then turn up to the corner of the fight,” wrote Till on Twitter. “I wish Chris the best of luck he’s a proper guy and we trained together and he can do good things. I also wish Jack the best of luck, may both men have a good fight.”
The No. 9 contender also addressed his issues with recurring injuries in recent years. Till has withdrawn from several fights because of them, which have left him at a ‘f—king low point.’ The usually active fighter has appeared twice in the past two years, losing to Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Island 3 and UFC Vegas 36, respectively.
He vowed to change his approach in training to avoid those injuries and prolong his professional career.
“I also look forward to hearing what all the couch potato’s [sic] have to comment below this post,” wrote Till. “I’ll be reading and laughing. To the people that messaged me saying keep my head up, etc., it’s massively appreciated but the only problem right now is that my body is brittle through years of hard torment day in day out to the body. I need to take a more controlled relaxed approach in the next 10 years! Good luck to all fight at UFC London, I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m sat here absolutely jealous to f—k. But seriously go smash it and reach the top where you are all meant to be. THE HYPE AROUND UFC LONDON IS REAL!”
Curtis defended Till and his decision on Twitter. Though the 35-year-old is now without Till in his corner, he will still show his appreciation for the Liverpudlian and walk out to “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond — the song used by Till in his iconic walkout at UFC Liverpool three years ago.
“Guys come on, Darren being in my corner was more just for the crowd,” wrote Curtis. “There isn’t a lot to learn in a week. I wanted you guys to have your walkout. Till made the right decision in respecting Jack. I am definitely OK with it. Relax guys, he did the right thing. Show goes on.”
UFC London is headlined by a heavyweight fight between Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall.