Cédric Doumbé scored a highlight-reel knockout this past weekend, but it’s what he said afterward about former coach Fernand Lopez that had many buzzing.
After scoring a nine-second KO of Jordan Zébo in his PFL debut Saturday, Doumbé used part of his post-fight victory speech to call out Lopez, accusing him of being involved in a domestic violence incident with an ex-wife.
“In France, I’m a big part of associations fighting against domestic violence,” Doumbé said. “So it’s not a secret that I don’t like Fernand Lopez, people know that. People really didn’t know why I don’t like him. It’s been maybe one, two, three, four, five years I didn’t want to talk about this story because I wanted to protect that woman. That woman is my nutritionist, so I didn’t want to expose her. I just want to protect her, because she doesn’t deserve exposure like that. But it’s the emotion with the emotion, I just want to show to the people it just comes out.
“I just told them that it’s not about Jordan. … [Lopez] got arrested for that. This type of thing makes me almost want to cry, because I really don’t like this type of stuff. That’s why I left his gym because even in the gym, everybody knew that story, but no one moves. I didn’t like the atmosphere in the gym, the mood, that’s why I left, because I cannot work with a man like that. So I just wanted to share my feelings with the crowd. I didn’t do it on purpose, it just comes out.”
Doumbé’s post-fight comments were addressed shortly after by Lopez, who spoke to Le Parisien for a feature that was published Sunday morning. He revealed he was sentenced to four months in prison in 2018 following an arrest for domestic violence.
Lopez, the owner and head coach of MMA Factory in Paris, claimed that he slapped his then-partner and then later reported himself to the police. He also alleged his former partner had previously become physical with him in addition to his eldest daughter (from another relationship) and his granddaughter. In the Le Parisien article, Lopez referred to his own actions as “inexcusable.”
Doumbé and Lopez are in dispute over the appropriateness of Doumbé’s involvement in the personal situation. Lopez said his ex-wife did not want the situation to be publicized, while Doumbé said she was grateful to see it brought up.
“She sent me a message, [and] she said, ‘Thank you’ and she said justice did its job, but that night I made justice for her, so she’s very happy that now everybody knows,” Doumbé said.
Lopez told Le Parisien that he thinks Doumbé’s behavior is “dangerous” and that he considers the comments hurtful to his family.
Asked if he regretted bringing the topic up in his post-fight speech, Doumbé answered, “Not really.”
“I’m at peace with it,” he continued. “I don’t regret, because if I can do more, I would do more for her, for all the victims in the world. If I can do more, I would do more, but I’m just Cédric Doumbé.”
Lopez was present at PFL Europe in Paris, and though he and Doumbé did not interact directly, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a tense moment between them following the conclusion of Doumbé’s fight.
“I saw him, and when I knocked the guy out, I was just staring at him, and he looked at me,” Doumbé said.
“[We said] nothing,” he continued. “What do you want me to say after I knocked out his guy? What do you want me to say? He didn’t even come into the cage to coach his guy. It means what it means. This guy, I don’t even want to talk about him longer.”