Old-school fight fans may remember Frank Trigg’s 2007 war against Robbie Lawler under the Icon Sport banner (Pictured above).
Trigg was defending his middleweight championship, when he was put to sleep with a brutal uppercut in the 4th round.
While the knockout was a particularly brutal one, what many fans didn’t know was that the KO nearly killed Trigg.
He explained recently on Submission Radio that he was taking a refereeing class under ‘Big’ John McCarthy, when McCarthy used Trigg’s fight against Lawler as an example, and not a good one.
“He hits play right, and it’s a blank screen. I don’t see it’s my fight. It’s a blank screen. Boom. It’s my fight that comes on, I’m watching it. I’m like ‘very funny John. That’s very funny.’ He says ‘no, watch this fight.’ So now I’m watching it for the first time as a referee. I’m watching it for a first time as somebody that protects the fighters life. I go back and I look at my medical records after, I’m done watching the fight with Big John McCarthy. I go back and see that fight. I had like 500 millilitres of blood in my lungs. I had aspirated that much blood, I swallowed that much blood, inhaled that much blood in that time. Mind you if your lungs get full of blood, you can’t get oxygen to your body, so I’m starting to slow down.
“So you see me, so my thought process in the fight in the fourth round is; I’m extremely tired. I told Randy Couture who’s in my corner and John Louis who was also in my corner, I said ‘look guys, if this fight doesn’t end in the fourth, I don’t know if I can make it to the fifth. I’m falling apart out here.’ [They respond] like ‘don’t worry about it. Go get it, go get it. It’s great, it’s great. Go get it.'”
“Okay. So in the middle of the round I go ‘I need a break. I need to take a tough 10 to 15 seconds out to catch my breath.’ I put myself in the corner and that’s when Robbie hits me. I am exhausted. In my head I have my hands up, I’m protecting my face, I’m completely fine. I watch the film, my hands are down by my hips, I take three straight shots to the head. When he hit the uppercut at the end, I didn’t even feel it. I’m out. I’m already out.”
“He stripped my vision in my left eye for like eight or nine months after that fight because he hit me with my eye open. I couldn’t see it anything. I had no peripheral vision. And the basis of what that fight did – I’ve talked to a couple of people, I’ve talked to Big John, I’ve had my doctors now look at the medical records and do all that stuff – That fight nearly killed me. If I’d gone into the fifth round I probably would have died in the stretcher on the way to the hospital.”
“So that fight, when everyone goes ‘what’s your toughest fight?’ The Lawler fight. ‘What’s the one fight that you regret doing?’ The Lawler fight. “What’s the one fight that you wish you could have done differently?” The Lawler fight. ‘Cause that fight changed me for the rest of my career and probably for the rest of my life. It’s fights like that, that cause dementia and concussion problems later in life, and give you Parkinsons, and things like that, that boxers are getting. It’s going through a bunch of fights like that, that causes it. That causes that problem. “