Chris Weidman’s coach Ray Longo admitted that he made a mistake by letting the former middleweight champion fight Luke Rockhold while he was injured.
Weidman has said that he went into his title bout with Rockhold at UFC 194 on December 12 with a broken foot and subsequently lost his middleweight title when he was knocked out in the fourth round.
While Weidman has been given an opportunity to regain his title at UFC 199, Longo admitted that with hindsight letting the 31-year-old fight with the injury was not the right move.
“He has fought with injuries before. I’ve seen this guy walk through fire before — but as his coach, I feel bad,” Longo told ESPN. “Maybe I should have been more vocal about this or that. You can’t make excuses. His teammate, Aljamain Sterling, was banged up going into his fight on Dec. 11 and he won. So, you never know.”
Longo also revealed that Weidman was not able to fully prepare for the fight as his broken foot limited what he could do in training.
“If you want to know the truth, he was banged up,” Longo said. “He had a fractured foot in two places. We tried to work around it, but I think mentally it had an effect on him, because he wasn’t able to push the cardio the right way.”
Longo added that Weidman had decided not able to wear a protective boot during his recovery in order to hide the severity of the injury.
“If you decide to fight, what can you do during camp? Put a boot on him, so someone takes a picture and he’s walking around in a boot? He didn’t wear one. It’s a nightmare,” he said. “And these guys are my friends, so I’m in a weird spot sometimes. You basically have to tell them they’re not doing it.”