Struve was excited about his return to the Octagon after a ten-month hiatus of retirement, but things went southwards for him inside the cage - and not all of it was his fault. Struve talked with MMA Fighting about what went on in his head during the bout.
Struve talks about the kicks to the groin
Struve was subjected to a number of fouls in Saturday's fight, and none but one point had been deducted from his opponent's scorecard for a low blow to the groin. He does not hold it against Rothwell, but definitely thinks it changed the dynamics of the bout.
"I don’t hold any animosity against Ben, because I don’t think he threw those kicks on purpose. I do think you are responsible for what you throw in that cage. Even if it wasn’t intentional, they did their due and the fight changed completely in my opinion, after those shots."
He also does not have any grudge against the referee Dan Miragliotta, but he thinks there should be better rules and more use of replays to assist the referees in order to protect the fighters in the cage. Fans have also accused Miragliotta of pushing Struve to continue the fight since he was probably leading the scorecard. But Struve says it was his own call.
"He said, ‘You’re probably ahead on the scorecards,’ which I knew for sure especially after he took the point away. I won the first round 10-9 easily, the second round I won 10-9 too and then after that deduction it was 10-8. Rothwell was down 20-17 at that point, so he had to go all out."
But what bothered Struve more than the illegal strikes was the crowd's reaction to it.
The crowd got to Struve's head
The audience at Capital One Arena left no stones unturned to be hostile to the 31-year-old Dutch and it eventually got to his head.
"The bad news for me is I was recovering, trying to get my breathing going again, and he was recovering while he was fresh... I never really had this happen during any fight. It was weird because I was dealing with recovery and all that stuff happened, (and) it definitely does something with you. You want to continue, at the same time you’re like, ‘Hey man, just give me my time,’ because they really don’t know what I’m feeling right now. It was weird. It was a weird night."
Despite all the low blows, Struve is mostly fine health-wise, except for a few contusions on his shins and foot and discomfort in his private parts. However, he has no interest in a rematch and wants to move on to the next fight.Published 10 Dec 2019, 14:55 IST