Jake Ellenberger: ‘I Felt Like I Could Have Kept Fighting’

June 2, 2012
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Jake Ellenberger UFC 126
Just moments into the first round of the main event at the Ultimate Fighter Live finale, Jake Ellenberger cracked Martin Kampmann on the jaw with a vicious left hook.

Kampmann dropped to the mat in a flash and immediately Ellenberger swarmed looking to put him away. As the Nebraska native flurried with a barrage of punches, Kampmann grabbed at his arms to try and control the situation and regain his composure.

As close as it was to being over, Kampmann was able to eventually pull Ellenberger in his guard and keep the fight moving.

In the 2nd round the roles were reversed after Kampmann clipped Ellenberger with a short right hand that stunned him, and after three consecutive knee strikes, it was Ellenberger who crashed to the ground.

As his arms fell backwards and it appeared his head hit the ground, before Kampmann could return the favor with a swarm of strikes, referee Steve Mazzagatti came in to stop the fight.

“He did hit me with a good one, kind of rocked me a little bit, just trying to keep my balance, but he’s in this position for a reason. He’s a tough guy, I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Ellenberger said about Kampmann’s comeback in the fight.

In a flash it looked like the stoppage was just and done right. Ellenberger’s head snapped back against the ground and his arms went limp as Kampmann rushed in to inflict more damage.

Still after a first round that saw Kampmann in some serious trouble as well, Ellenberger admitted after the fight was over that he wished he got a little extra consideration to battle back, but it’s not his call.

“That’s up to the ref, that’s the ref’s discretion. That’s just the way it goes, but I had him hurt, I thought I had him more hurt than he was, but he’s tough. He battled back and stayed in there,” Ellenberger stated.

“I’m a little disappointed. I felt like I could have kept fighting or possibly give me a chance to recover, but it is what it is. It’s Martin’s night.”

Gracious in defeat, Jake Ellenberger will undoubtedly move on from this loss and look to bounce back with another big fight in the UFC welterweight division later this year.

It doesn’t however remove the sting of defeat tonight or the question – was the fight stopped too early?

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  • MrAdidas

    Good stoppage, regardless of what fighters say, #1 is their safety. I think the ref actually saved Ellenberger from some unecessary punishment.

    • Maine2Alaska

      Ive been watching religiously since the age of 11. (im 28 now) Now, i understand they have changed the rules a lot since i was 11. Not only for it to be legalized, but for the fighters safety.. i accept that. But they NEED to get rid of Mazzagatti. PERIOD. Im sick, Im tired, Im fed up with this ref. After watching the last Pay Per View (Mir vs JDS) I noticed a couple different fights they dove in to “save” the fighter. Last night, before Kampman and Ellenburger squared off, i thought, oh shit, i hate this F*ckin ref because he stops fights too early.
      These fighters train their asses off. They deserve the chance to recoupe after taking a shot. No shit, your gonna get rocked and slip up, fall to your knee, maybe even your back. BUT, thats what makes a fight a fight. To see what someone is made of, to see them fight back out of desperation. These guys arent little kids or amatures. I mean look at Ellengurger, i mean personaly i was pulling for Kampman, but this guy is ripped, a neck width of a bull. Im pretty f*cking sure this guy could lay there for a second and take an extra shot or 2 before the ref felt the need to save his life.. And i def wouldnt want to fight for an organization that stops a fight so quickly after i get rocked. Nothing makes me angrier than seeing someone get clipped, joe Rogan opening his big mouth “oh their hurt”, and the ref diving in to “save” them from any more injury before it should even come to that.
      Bottom line, sometimes getting knocked down and fighting back from that position as your taking shots is what makes this sport so dramatic and awesome. Its also what will make a name for you in this sport. And they are taking it away from these guys that work so hard to earn that name.
      And I thought Herb Dean was bad..


      • Stoppage was fine IMO.

      • dailycupofjoe

        You do realize the refs are employed by the city’s respective athletic commission and not the UFC, right? No wait, I guess you don’t. But I agree, Mazagatti sucks.

        • Maine2Alaska

          Yeah like ive said, ive been watching since 11 years old.. when D. L. tank abbott first hit the scene. And Jeff Blatnick was the sh*t. first ufc i saw was UFC #4. I DO KNOW that the Athletic Commission is in charge of that stuff believe it or not Dailycupofjoe. Get rid of Mazagatti and that red head b*tch. No cl*t in the pit is my saying. Also, Im not suprised some people dont mind these early stoppages.. its not their hide on the line its not their record, its not their blood sweat and tears going down the drain because they went limp for a split second.. in the end i guess its just some other guys career. This is the UFC, it use to be scary to watch. When you sign the dotted line to fight, you would be ready to get your ass handed to you if u werent ready. At one time. Now its opposite. now u just gotta worrie about getting hit once.

          • RubeKegal

            i couldn’t agree more…When Ellenberger landed the left hook that initially dropped Kampmann, Kampmann looked OUT….when Ellenberger got dropped he looked hurt but defensive. There needs to be a middle ground with Mazzagatti who in my opinion is the worst referee in MMA history. I think Big John and Yamasaki should ref every fight.

  • Jmoney

    Good stoppage… watch the replay… he was done

    • I did. Actually a re-watched it about five more times. He covered up. He wasn’t done. He wasn’t even given a chance. Mazzagatti should have waited to see what happened. I think he should have given it another second or two. That’s what Herb Dean does and that’s why he’s the best.

      Bottom line.
      He’s a crap ref!

  • aironet

    Terrible stoppage. If the ref stopped the fight after Ellenberger landed the left that dropped kampman it would have been exactly the same. Kampman went down limp just like Ellenberger. Would Ellenberger have recovered? I don’t know but the ref did not give him a chance. He was not KO’d and he was not punched after the knee that dropped him.

    • KBEsq

      Totally disagree. The difference in the two stoppages was that when Kampmann was out, Ellenberger had to run to get to Kampmann, and by that time, Kampmann was totally back in it.

      Ellenberger, conversely, was out and Kampmann was right there with ground and pound. Ellenberger was taking unnecessary damage, and Kampmann was not even in a position to take unnecessary damage.

      I don’t know how you could say Ellenberger was not out. He totally bucked on this feet.

      • RubeKegal

        He wasnt out, he was in a lot of pain and was wincing, but wasn’t out. Kampmann looked OUT, big difference and Mazz is the worst.

        • phrankthetank

          The 1st rd was a great non stoppage. When ellenberger went down he clutched his nose and put one open palm up to defend himself. No matter what he said afterwards, in that moment he was just praying for the pain to stop.

          • RubeKegal

            You said it all “Palm up to DEFEND himself” He was able to defend, when kampmann was hit on the chin he was out.

            If Mazzagatti waited 3 more seconds, we would have seen if Ellenberger had what it took to come back or if he was done and there would be no discussion. If he curled up like Brock Lesnar and kept taking punishment and got hit with another 8-10 punches, then you can justify it.

            The argument is a terrible one. When Hughes fought Trigg the 2nd time, Hughes got clipped in the nuts, was in obvious pain and held his palm out at Trigg while coping with the pain and was getting pummeled but was managing to defend himself until the pain diminished….anyone remember how that one turned out?

            It was too early a stoppage and it wasn’t decisive therefore it was a bad stoppage, arguing otherwise is just being confrontational and retarded.

  • therealmo

    I think mazzagatti had a hidden agenda to see kampmann beat ellenberger because when he caught him with a punch he gave kampmann a chance to regroup but he instantly jumped in to save ellenberger

    • KBEsq

      That’s ridiculous – Kampmann was fine right after hitting the canvas and Ellenberger wasn’t even there yet. That’s why he got a chance to recover. Ellenberger was out with Kampmann pounding on him. The stoppage was fine and Elllenberger should admit to that.

      Ohh, I’m responding to therealmo. Here comes a two to three word insult directed at me.

      • RubeKegal

        Youre obviously a Kampmann fan because what you’re saying is utterly ridiculous.

        • KBEsq

          Which part exactly? Let’s go line by line:

          “Kampmann was fine right after hitting the canvas.” Is that the part? I admit Kampmann was out, but he WAS fine right after hitting the canvas and was able to defend himself.

          “Ellenberger wasn’t even there yet.” Well, I don’t see how that’s utterly ridiculous, because it’s a fact.

          “Ellenberger was out with Kampmann pounding on him.” Okay, I’ll revise this to: Ellenbeger was in the fetal position with Kampmann pounding on him.

          Which part was “utterly ridiculous.” I love it when people criticize so generally that you cannot even respond adequately. And if it’s so utterly ridiculous, why do most people agree with it. I thought Ellenberger was going to win this fight, but he didn’t. Simple as that.

          • RubeKegal

            You corrected yourself….You revised it to “I admit Kampmann was out” and “Ellenberger was in fetal position”, but was not out. I accept your apology and your stupidity.

  • GiovanniB

    Great stoppage! I don’t care what “He felt” he wasn’t defending himself. He was so out of it that he even started covering himself up when the ref went in to help him. Maybe they should’ve let Kampman bang him a little more so it would’ve been more embarrassing for him and then he wouldn’t be talking crap about him “feeling” he could’ve kept fighting.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Jake and he’s got potential to become champ some day, but he just met his match. Maybe this will help him be less “wild” on the way he fights and helps him have a little bit more of a game plan when approaching fights. You see what it is, is that he goes wild in the effort of trying to put guys away and that leaves him susceptible to catch a “wild” punch himself. Even Kenny Florian commented on that and he even said Jake needed to be a little bit more careful and not go so wild trying to finish a fight.

    Anyway, live and learn and I’m sure Jake will come back a stronger and more mature fighter next time around.

    By the way, for some reason, I think Kampman will pull off the upset with Hendrix too. I like Hendrinks, but in the Kosh fight he showed a lot of holes in his game; and let’s be honest, he didn’t really man handle Kosh who happens to be an elite fighter. With Fitch, I’d say Fitch got caught and had been out of action for quite sometime and he became the victim of “ring rust” and so Hendrix was able to capitalize on that.

    It will be an exciting fight though Kampman vs Hendrix; I’m really looking forward to it and I hope it’s free too!


    • RubeKegal

      Couldn’t be more wrong. Wincing in pain and being unconscious are two completely different things. You just debated the point perfectly as to why it was a terrible stoppage. When Kampmann got hit with left hook, he was UNCONSCIOUS until the ground woke him up. Mazzagati is incredibly inconsistent and needs to be fired.

  • Danjitsu

    The last two commenters are way off base. Watch it again. Kampmann gets cracked, goes down and IMMEDIATELY starts defending himself. When Ellenberger went down he rolled over on his side and started clutching at his nose. Could he have been given more time? Sure, but to say it was a bad stoppage in relation to the amount of time Kampmann was given is inappropriate.

    • RubeKegal

      as Kampmann was falling down he was unconscious, the ground woke him back up…as Ellenberger was falling down, Mazzagatti sprinted in and had already made up his mind. He is the worst hands down.

  • Danjitsu

    Okay that last comment snuck in while I was typing! lol The previous two comments to the comment before mine is the one I was referring to.

  • The stoppage was a good call by the ref. Ellenberger was turtled up grabbing his nose when the ref stopped the fight. He wasn’t fighting back and Kampmann was standing over him ready to deliver shots till he went comatose.

    • RubeKegal


  • BlackDog2009

    Kampmann is one of the most boring fighters I see in UFC, flat persnality, no charisma, face like a boxing glove and he turtles up, waiting for his opponents to tire out. Ellenberger should have seen the strategy coming.

    • phrankthetank

      ??? Kampmann is exciting as hell, I love watching him fight. He can KO you or submit you. As for cardio, not his fault he has a great gas tank.

    • elguapo

      What?!? If kampmann is dull then just who do you find exciting?

    • KBEsq

      This comment is just beyond explanation. Watch his fight w/ Paulo Thiago and say that’s boring. He’s one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC and is hardly, if ever, in a boring fight.

      • BlackDog2009

        Kampmann is nothing like: Nate Diaz, BJ Penn, Frankie Edgar, Cowboy Cerrone, Diego Sanchez, Koshek, or even Guillard. He’s fuckin boring.

        • KBEsq

          Are you trying to make comments that get a rise out of people? I have to assume so, because this comment is even more confusing. Kos!? You’re saying Kos is more exciting than Kampmann?!

    • maddawgmar

      Absolutely 100% wrong. I believe everyone has their opinion, but yours is absurd. Kampmann has amazing stand up, great ground game and an unbelievable ability to absorb and come back from damage. I haven’t seen one boring fight he was in. This fight was a good back and forth battle. He got hurt, immediately defended himself and stifled the top game of Ellenberger. Then came back and finished him. Not boring at all.

  • lowlb

    Ellen was backing up in the 2nd round and looked gassed. Great 1rst round but maybe that’s the problem. He needs to slow down.
    The 1rst round was a flurry of punches that mostly did not connect. Then he spent all his energy trying to wrestle Kampmen away from the cage.
    E was tired by the middle of the 2nd round and K was not..
    It was a good stoppage, E had nothing left and that was obvious.
    I am amazed that K made it through the first round. I guess more amazing is that in E’s flurry of punches in the 1rst only a few connected.
    Good ref. great fight. I think Ellenberger will learn a lot from this loss.
    He needs to learn to pace himself.

  • voltaire64

    LOL, the picture in my mind at the end of that fight is of Jake in the fetal position holding onto his nose. Like a burger left too long on a grill on July 4th, he’s done.

  • hitman13

    Kampmann not exciting? Watch against Drew McFederies at 185. And I thought he beat Sanchez.

  • RubeKegal

    We need a “Fire Mazzagatti” petition.

    • macgrubber

      i will never sign that garbage

      • RubeKegal

        You are one of the very few

      • rsnowbass

        What?…petition not straight edge enough for your signature Ian MacKaye?

  • Drock420

    I thought it was a good stoppage IMO. However I do not like Mazzagatti as a ref.

  • I have a feeling that a few of the people posting in here have matching IP addresses…

  • MuayThaiFood

    I don’t know what all the talk is about being unconscious. Neither one looked like they were completely out. The difference was Kampmann was actively trying to defend himself and Ellenberger clearly wasn’t. Holding your nose doesn’t seem like an intelligent defense. Bad ref but good stoppage this time IMO.