There was a lot of talk about Aspen Ladd’s first fight in nearly two years given the circumstances it was under.

Ladd was set to return two weeks ago at bantamweight against Macy Chiasson, but a weight cut that went awry forced her out of the fight. Subsequently, the MMA world started the speculation about whether Ladd should be at 135 pounds since it wasn’t her first brush with a struggle to make weight.

But the UFC stuck with Ladd and gave her a chance to fill in for former bantamweight champion Holly Holm in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 195 main event against Norma Dumont – at featherweight. Ladd was the first fighter to step on the scale Friday morning, made weight, and it looked like maybe she was set for a fresh start.

But Ladd (9-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) never got going against Dumont (7-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and lost a fairly lopsided unanimous decision. Dumont had a pair of 49-46 scores and a 48-47, but the fight didn’t appear to be as close as a 48-47 tally might imply.

After the third round, Ladd’s head coach, Jim West, went after his fighter verbally in a big way. He asked her what she was doing in the fight and made it abundantly clear she was going to lose a decision if she didn’t finish Dumont.

“You’re down 3 to 0. Please tell me what you’re doing,” West said to Ladd. “You have to throw more than one punch.”

Judging by reaction on social media, his tone seemed too harsh to many observers, even though it wasn’t the first time he had taken that tack with Ladd. In fact, the last time Ladd fought before Saturday, against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC on ESPN 7 in December 2019, West was stern with Ladd and in her face after the second round.

In that fight, Ladd responded with a third-round blitz that led to a TKO just 33 seconds into the frame.

But Saturday, West’s critique of Ladd’s performance through three rounds, and again after the fourth round, seemed more desperate and decidedly more harsh.

Miesha Tate, who publicly criticized Ladd for her weight issues two weeks ago, seemed to stick up for her Saturday and called West a “douche.”

“This is ABUSE, what a douche,” Tate posted on Twitter. “… He will take credit for her win but never for her loss. Trust me she can only take so much of this abuse before it breaks her spirit.”

This is ABUSE, what a douche

— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) October 17, 2021

She woulda done that without him it’s who she is. He will take credit for her win but never for her loss. Trust me she can only take so much of this abuse before it breaks her spirit.

— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) October 17, 2021

UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad speculated that West was “coaching for the camera.”

I feel like this guy is coaching for the camera right now

— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) October 17, 2021

Regardless of viewers’ thoughts about West’s coaching style with Ladd, it appears he’s now 1-1 with it trying to get his fighter motivated for a late Hail Mary push for a win. It worked against Kunitskaya, but didn’t against Dumont – and left a bad taste in some people’s mouths.


Twitter reacts to Norma Dumont’s win over Aspen Ladd in ho-hum UFC Fight Night 195 headliner


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