French UFC heavyweight fighter Cheick Kongo’s reputation took another hit over the weekend as he topped off a poor performance against relative-unknown Travis Browne by committing several fouls over their three-round bout. Kongo was even deducted a point in the bout for repeatedly grabbing Browne’s shorts despite the referee’s warnings and he landed a low knee to Browne against the fence; something that many people believe is a recurring pattern in Kongo’s fights because he uses the technique deliberately. Kongo’s Wolfslair muay Thai coach Dave Jackson recently took the time to speak with Fighters Only in an attempt to clear up the misunderstandings which he believes have led people to think of Kongo as a dirty fighter.
“Taking nothing away from Travis Browne, he put on a great performance and made an impressive UFC debut,” Jackson said. “But I just wanted to address some of the things getting said [on the internet] about Kongo being a dirty fighter.”
Jackson told Fighters Only that he didn’t see Kongo’s constant shorts grabbing as an intentional foul, but rather a side effect of his fighter looking for a takedown.
“My take on it is that it was something of a simple honest mistake,” said Jackson. “He looked to me like he was reaching between Browne’s legs looking to get a position for a high-crotch or something, but just coming away with a handful of shorts each time. I don’t think he was trying to gain an advantage by grabbing shorts. Usually short grabbing is to stop knees but he was ending up with this grip rather than specifically going for it; he was ending up with a worse position really. But I can’t argue with the referee’s decision to dock him a point; at the end of the day he got told to stop and he understands English.”
As for the low knees, Jackson said they were “definitely not deliberate” and were actually the result of Kongo’s inability to kick for having suffered a split-shin early in the fight. Jackson also listed a bad back and an intestinal ailment as reasons for Kongo’s flat performance.