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Tag: Roufusport

Duke Roufus Responds to Team Members’ Abuse Allegations: “Things Have Changed”


(MMA H.E.A.T’s Karyn Bryant talks with Rose Namajunas, Pat Barry, and former Roufusport training partner L-Dogg.) 

The death of kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr. in March was a horrific, completely avoidable tragedy, and one that has spurned several former students of Duke Roufus to speak out against the allegedly abusive and negligent training methods employed by the Roufusport fight club. Chief among the dissenters has been TUF 20 contestant Rose Namajunas, a Milwaukee native and former UFC fighter Eric Schafer, who referred to Roufus as “one of the worst people I have ever met” on a recent UG post in support of Rose. The hard numbers haven’t helped either — Roufusport was recently determined to be the most injury-prone camp in MMA, with fighters withdrawing due to injury in 16.6% of their scheduled fights.

But so it goes, there are always two sides to a story. In an interview with MMAJunkie last night, Roufus — along with former UFC/Roufusport fighter Danny Downes — responded to Namajunas’ allegations.

You know, when I see Rose and (former UFC fighter) Pat Barry, they don’t seem disgruntled. They’re very nice to me. Pat asked me advice at the last Glory (kickboxing) event. Rose came and trained at our gym in spring. Eric Schafer, I know we’ve had some issues. I’ve tried to reach out ever since he left Roufusport, and he didn’t want to ever sit down and chat with me. It’s tough.

I think they left in 2010. It’s 2014. If you look at the results of what the kids are doing right now, and just the evolution of MMA, things have changed. Back then, I don’t think we embraced strength and conditioning as much. We were trying to spar ourselves into shape. My philosophy now, four short years later, is completely opposite of that.

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Rose Namajunas Speaks Out Against Roufusport’s Abusive Coaching Methods Following the Death of Kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr.


(Video via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

On Saturday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a long, must-read feature on the death of Dennis Munson Jr., who collapsed and died following his kickboxing debut in Milwaukee in March 28th. The article sheds light on the “cascade of errors by fight officials” during the match, including a lack of regulatory oversight, an inept ringside physician — who was busy staring at his phone while Munson was showing signs of physical distress — and the use of same-day weigh-ins as an apparent cost-saving measure.

The person who arguably comes off looking the worst is Roufusport striking coach Scott Cushman, who cornered Munson that night and could be seen physically propping the fighter up between the second and third rounds, sending him back into battle despite the obvious red flags that Munson was in no shape to continue (You may recognize Cushman as the burly, bearded assistant coach for Team Pettis on TUF 20.) It’s difficult to watch, but footage of the entire fight and Munson’s collapse is above. As the video explains, the footage originally submitted to police by Roufusport was missing 32 seconds showing Munson’s actual collapse. The restored footage shows Cushman slapping Munson and holding him upright for a while until the fighter dropped to the canvas. Munson was pronounced dead later than night.

According to the MJS article, “The state says it has no authority to investigate the death or the actions of those in charge that night because it was an unregulated event,” which has only compounded the tragedy for Munson’s family. But yesterday, UFC strawweight Rose Namajunas — who formerly trained at Roufusport — spoke out with a series of social media posts, blasting Roufusport’s abusive coaching methods, and the gym’s hostile environment in which experienced fighters were regularly encouraged to beat up newbies, and coaches physically brutalized female students.


(via Rose’s instagram)

“Crazy that I finally speak out against the people that are responsible for this tragedy and now other people are coming out too it’s sad it takes someone’s life to bring awareness,” Namajunas wrote on Squor. She then passed along several stories of terrible experiences that former students have had at Roufusport, which we’ve reprinted below…

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Sergio Pettis: The Future is Now


(Sergio flanked by biggest supporters: his oldest brother Rey, Anthony and their mom.)

Although you likely haven’t heard the name Sergio Pettis yet, the surname is a familiar one thanks to his older brother Anthony, who introduced the Pettis pedigree to the MMA masses fans with his underdog WEC lightweight championship win over Ben Henderson. His breakout performance was capped off by a highlight reel kick that fans and pundits alike are still talking about.

Sergio is Anthony’s younger brother, who shares not only his older brother’s passion for the sport, but also his innate fighting abilities. Dubbed “Phenom” by his Roufusport teammates, Sergio, who at 17 sports a 4-0 amateur tally, is set to make his professional debut September 9 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada under the Canadian Fighting Championships banner.

He credits Roufusport head Duke Roufus and his brother for helping mould him into the fighter he’s become, but says his goals are simply to keep winning and to hopefully one day follow in Anthony’s footsteps and make it to the UFC. Although that may seem like a lofty aim, for a teenager who abstained from partying and pigging out like most teenagers partake in, in favor of rolling and sparring in the hopes that he would one day reach his goal, it would be more of a surprise to see him not get there.

We spoke with Sergio recently and touched on a number of topics from why he got into fighting to if he ever claimed to be the inventor of the Showtime Kick.

Check out what Sergio had to say after the jump.

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Exclusive Interview: Roufusport Head Coach Jeff “Duke” Roufus [UPDATED]

By Jason Moles

CagePotato recently spoke with the former five-time Super Heavyweight kickboxing champion and current head coach/trainer at Roufusport in Milwaukee. We discussed his beginnings in combat sports, his take on UFC superfights, the upcoming Anthony Pettis vs. Clay Guida matchup, and what he really thinks about Dana White asking teammates to fight each other. Check it out after the jump.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk with us at CagePotato. For those who may not be aware, can you tell us how you got started in martial arts?

Duke Roufus: I started when I was four years old at my dad’s martial arts school. I started doing tournaments when I was six. Then we evolved into kickboxing and muay thai. Basically, I’ve been involved in every gamut of combat sports, and I guess the rest is just history. I worked my first UFC corner at UFC 26 and since 2005 I’ve been actively cornering guys; Ben Rothwell and Stephan Bonner were some of my original guys.

Speaking of big names, how do you manage all of the egos at Roufusport?

There are no egos, that’s the key. Sure, we’ve got a lot of really decorated guys here; Ben Askren’s joined us, but everyone checks their egos at the door. It’s just a bunch of guys doing work who want to get better.

You mentioned Ben Askren, Bellator’s Welterweight champion. Has he rubbed anyone the wrong way yet?

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