By his own admission, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Anthony Pettis "couldn't see" from his right eye after taking a fist to the dome from Rafael dos Anjos at the UFC 185 pay-per-view (PPV) event last weekend in Dallas, Texas (video).
"He caught me with the left hand, the first punch he threw, I couldn't see out of my right eye the whole time," Pettis said after the fight. "It closed up on me, I didn't have any peripheral (vision). No excuses, I've got to go back to the gym and train."
Nothing to be done about that after the fact.
Except Pettis informed his corner in between rounds four and five that he was, in fact, partially blind, and coach Duke Roufus opted to send him back into battle anyway. That raises questions about "ethical cornering" and whether or not "Showtime" needed to be saved from himself, especially against a punishing brute like Dos Anjos.
There is no easy answer.
It should be noted, however, that Roufusport came under fire earlier this year for allegedly failing to act on its fighter's behalf, which may have been a contributing factor in the untimely death of Dennis Munson Jr., thanks to an existing gym culture that insists "quitting is not an option."
It's always an option (just ask this guy), but nobody wants to be the one to pull the trigger.
We then defer to the referee, who can stop a fight on the advice of the cageside doctor. That never came into play during the UFC 185 main event, so ultimately, the decision rested on the shoulders of Roufus and Co., who acknowledged the temporary handicap but then reassured Pettis, "You can do this."
He did do it. But should he have?