Aspen Ladd’s coach Jim West unwittingly found himself under the microscope on Saturday night, and he’s owning up to his mistakes.
During the UFC Vegas 40 main event, Ladd’s corner audio was caught by the ESPN+ broadcast and West, who is also Ladd’s boyfriend, could be heard berating a struggling Ladd between rounds in the latter stages of her fight with Norma Dumont.
“You’re down 3-0,” Ladd said between Rounds 3 and 4. “Please tell me what you’re doing. You have to throw more than one punch… fight to win, you have to finish.”
West offered similar advice ahead of the final round, and social media was quick to comment on the situation with former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate calling the coaching method “abuse” and other fighters chiming in to share their thoughts on West’s approach. Ladd would go on to lose a unanimous decision.
Now West has issued a statement via Instagram, apologizing to Ladd and taking the blame for the loss.
“I blame myself,” West wrote. “Though it may not be my fault. It’s not up for debate. I take all the blame.
“Yes after the first couple rounds I may have been a little harsh but I know Aspen and at that time technical conversation was not in the cards being down three rounds. Nonetheless I own it and I am sorry [Ladd] from the bottom of my heart I will continue to be better each time.”
The loss came in Ladd’s first fight since December 2019. Ladd had been sidelined as she recovered from a major knee injury and also saw a pair of recent bouts with Macy Chiasson fall through. In July, Chiasson withdrew due to an injury, then the re-booking on Oct. 2 was cancelled when Ladd failed to make weight for the bantamweight fight. She was then rebooked opposite Dumont in a featherweight contest.
Also taking to social media after the fight, Ladd sounded grateful to be back in the octagon.
Not my night. Congrats to my opponent. We will be back better. In the mean time I finally got to get back in there after nearly two years. Now it’s time to take a step back, take a breath, and get back to fighting and feeling like myself again. On to the next.