Brad Marchand’s UFC fighter friend reacts to his latest cheap shot

Watch as Brad Marchand is given a game misconduct for a spear on Jake Dotchin.

Brad Marchand is public enemy No. 1 among many groups of hockey fans, but he’s got one supporter who’s coming to his defence.

UFC featherweight Charles Rosa is a friend of Marchand’s and believes the Boston Bruins forward gets a bad rap—even following his latest spearing incident.

“I always like watching Marchand. I was actually just talking to him a little while ago. He’s an awesome dude,” Rosa told Sportsnet MMA contributor James Lynch Wednesday. “I mean, some of the guys don’t like him in the league because of him being dirty and stuff. But, for me, I just look at that as being scrappy. He’s a stand-up dude. I know him in person and he’s an awesome dude and I can’t wait to see him back on the ice.”

Marchand had a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety Thursday morning after spearing Tampa Bay defenceman Jake Dotchin in the groin during a game Tuesday. It resulted in a two-game suspension.

Rosa, no stranger to combative exchanges, is set to fight Shane Burgos at UFC 210 Saturday in Buffalo. The Peabody, Mass., native is a Bruins supporter and grew up playing hockey. The 30-year-old will even be attending Wednesday’s Sabres-Canadiens game at the KeyBank Center.

Spearing someone with a stick isn’t how Rosa solves his problems in the Octagon, but he thinks there might be more than meets the eye when it comes to why Marchand does some of the things he’s criticized for.

“I think it’s just emotions, man. I used to play the same way,” Rosa said. “I wouldn’t really do too many cheap shots when I played hockey but if somebody gets under your skin—you don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes, or what the guy is saying to him in front of the net. He could be saying something pretty dirty or something and sometimes you just snap. He’s a fireball. That’s probably what happened.”

Make sure to follow James Lynch @LynchOnSports for week-long coverage of UFC 210.


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