UFC fighter Aspen Ladd appeared weak and disoriented and in a fair amount of pain during her Friday weigh-in ahead of UFC Fight Night 155 in Sacramento. Her weekend didn’t improve much from there: Ladd was knocked out just 16 seconds into her bantamweight fight against Germaine de Randamie Saturday night.
The result was somewhat controversial. Ladd was dropped to her knees by a clean and brutal right hand, and de Randamie immediately loaded up and connected with a follow-up left that rolled Ladd over onto her back. Referee Herb Dean jumped in and stopped the fight after that second punch. It’s possible to interpret Ladd’s twisting movement on the mat as defensive, and a sign that she was prepared to continue fighting, but it’s also hard to fault the referee for protecting a battered fighter from further punishment.
Ladd told assembled media after the fight that she “was still aware” after the second punch, and wished Dean hadn’t stopped the fight, but allowed that “referees have a tough job.” She also mostly rejected the suggestion that her rough weight cut and alarming weigh-in condition had much to do with the result, and said that at least part of the discomfort evident at her weigh-in was the result of “modesty,” which itself was the result of her not being “all there.”
“There was cramping, but I’ll be honest, after a weight cut you’re not really—at least I wasn’t necessarily all there. And I have to put the curtain on, and I was freaking out because I didn’t want it dropping and people seeing me. Modesty, kind of thing, which sounds stupid at that point but it starts freaking me out.”
The loss was the first of Ladd’s MMA career. Moving up in weight class for future fights would seem a reasonable pivot for Ladd to avoid more “terrible” weight cuts, but UFC’s women’s featherweight division is a wasteland with an uncertain future. For the time being, Ladd says she’s going to take a break and do some traveling while she waits for her next fight.