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No surgery for Anthony Pettis after UFC 241 injuries means 2019 return is possible

After a 15-minute war with Nate Diaz at last Saturday night’s (Aug. 17, 2019) UFC 241 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Anaheim. Calif. (see it again here), Anthony Pettis went home a bit busted up. Aside from suffering a broken foot, “Showtime” also suffered damage to his right orbital.

See the full list if medical suspensions here.

But according to Anthony’s head coach, Duke Roufus, Pettis won’t need any surgery on his foot or eye. Suffering the leg injury early in the fight after Nate checked one of his kicks, Pettis opted not to tell his coaching staff about it.

That’s because “Showtime” had strict rules for his staff that they not stop the fight under any circumstances prior to fight night, in reference to them throwing in the towel after he broke his hand during his fight against Tony Ferguson last year.

“He didn’t tell me about the injury at all during the fight because he didn’t want me to stop the fight,” Roufus told MMA Fighting. “He told me before the fight, ‘Don’t stop this fight, coach.’ And that’s a problem I’m having with my guys now. I stop the fight and now they lie to me and don’t tell me any injuries. Sergio Pettis did the same thing in Milwaukee [against Rob Font], lacerated his cornea in the first round of that fight and he fought the whole fight with one eye,” he added.

“So that being said, Anthony broke that foot on that check where he fell down. That’s where he broke the foot and I was wondering the whole fight why he couldn’t just do certain things. I wanted a straight right hand, an elbow even. He couldn’t push off, he couldn’t kick, now I understand what he was doing.”

Still, Duke made sure to say Diaz winning had nothing to do with Anthony’s injuries. At the end of the day, though, Roufus understands why his fighters — or any fighter — refuses to quit on the stool.

“We’re fighters—or I was a fighter—They’re fighters. They don’t have a day job, there’s no pension in the UFC or Bellator. So a lot of the time these guys are fighting not at 100 percent because that’s how they feed their families or monetize their skills.”

With the good news that all Pettis needs is some down-time and won’t be going under the knife, Roufus says “Showtime” could return by the end of the year. And he made sure to commend his fighter for always putting it on the line, regardless if the win isn’t always the end result.

“If healthy, maybe December, Las Vegas,” Roufus said. “Here’s the thing, did he get the win? No. But man, you love to watch this guy fight. There’s something about his skills and most of the guys I train, especially the guys I train full time and a long time, is I try to teach them to be a promoter. That’s why I had a 20-year fight career and until recently I was even offered some fights, and I’m an old guy. Because you know what? I knew what this fight game’s about, entertainment.”

“Sometimes you don’t win, but you entertain. There’s a lot of people out there fighting careful, going out there sparring, playing the system, kind of what Nate Diaz talks about. That’s why I really relate to what Nate Diaz talks about, these ‘real fighters.’ Not putting anyone down, I’m just saying the brand of fighting that I instill in a lot of my guys, they’re doing well and having great careers and it’s exciting. … I think that’s what’s exciting about Anthony. You’re waiting, ‘will he pull it out?’ He doesn’t win every time, but man, he sure gives the fans some fights.”

Anthony’s habit of putting on great fights is exactly why Diaz chose to sign on the dotted line when Pettis was offered up as an opponent. As for who “Showtime” faces upon his return, I leave that up to you to offer up some possible foes.