In war, waiving the white flag is the universal sign that you have surrendered. In fighting, a corner throwing the white towel in the ring signifies the same thing.
According to UFC president Dana White, Junior dos Santos’ (pictured) corner should have been heaving every towel within arm’s reach into the Octagon during the third round of Saturday’s lopsided loss to heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
“I had Tilman Fertitta, Lorenzo and Frank’s cousin, sitting next to me, ‘How does this work, can you throw in the towel?’” White recalled after UFC 166. “That’s a good f****** question. I think if I threw the towel in, I’d get f****** beat to death by his corner and half the fans here and probably the next time I went to Brazil.
“I don’t want this to come out the wrong way, but I always like to say if anybody in his f****** corner cares about him, man, please throw in the towel. I thought that fight was done in the third round.”
While giving up isn’t something common in MMA, in fact it can be viewed as sacrilegious, White looks at it from a different perspective – live to fight another day, if not for another few years.
“Is Junior dos Santos tough enough and does he have the heart to go through it? Yeah, but does that mean he should?” a discouraged White asked. “It ended in the fifth? So that guy took seven-eight minutes more of punishment that I didn’t believe he needed to take before it ended. I don’t like it.”
Dos Santos warriored on until the very end before he kind of knocked himself out when hitting his head on the canvas after attempting a desperation standing choke in the final frame.
At 29, the likable slugger is just entering his prime. However, it’s hard to believe two straight prolonged maulings by Velasquez within 10 months didn’t take some years off dos Santos’ career.
“Two vicious beatings – vicious,” White added. “By the end of the first round going into the second, [dos Santos'] face was already starting to look different. I mean, Cain beat him up both times real bad.”
Dos Santos didn’t attend the UFC 166 post-fight press conference because he was rushed to the hospital immediately after the shootout. Early reports indicate he’ll be fine. Long-term, who knows?