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…
And finally, some words from former UFC contender Eric Schafer…
Schafer continued his thoughts on The UG. At this point, neither Duke Roufus nor Scott Cushman have publicly responded to the Journal Sentinel article or its backlash. We’ll let you know when that happens.