Why last night’s UFC Orlando main event should make you appreciate Mark Hunt.
Last night’s UFC on FOX 28 main event in Orlando produced arguably one of the most brutal finishes in the promotions history when perennial featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens knocked Josh Emmett out cold in the second-round.
“Lil Heathen’s” savage knockout left Emmett with some rather serious injuries, most notably three fractures in his orbital bone.
Stephens win at UFC Orlando was marred in controversy this after it appeared he not only landed an illegal knee but also a couple of illegal elbows to the back of the head of his opponent during the fights final moments.
While it is most certainly the job of the referee to call a stop to the action after illegal strikes have been thrown, some responsibility has to fall on the fighter to follow the rules set out by the commission.
What really bothered me the most about last night’s unforgettable and slightly disturbing main event finish in Orlando was that Stephens clearly struck Emmett with another brutal elbow after Josh had already gone completely limp from the previous strike.
— Kyle Johnson (@KidNobuhiko) February 25, 2018
The second blow, which I personally believe was uncalled for, was eerily familiar to that of Dan Henderson’s infamous knockout victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 100.
Bisping was stiff as a board when he hit the canvas at UFC 100; however, Henderson decided to follow up with a devastating flying forearm.
Henderson and Bisping had a lot of bad blood going into their fight at UFC 100, and when questioned about his infamous flying forearm Hendo stated that he threw it “just to shut him up a little bit”, a comment which drew a fair share of criticism.
Some fans will argue that it is the responsibility of the referee to step in and call a stop to the action while a fighter is in “the heat of the moment” and I can appreciate that logic.
But why is it that some fighters are able to show mercy and restraint while others cannot?
UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt is known as one of mixed martial arts most terrifying knockout artists. However, “The Super Samoan” has always shown his opponents respect and mercy inside the octagon; highlighted by his signature walk-off knockout victories over Frank Mir, Stefan Struve and Chris Tuchscherer.
In all three of the aforementioned Hunt victories, Mark had the opportunity to step in and land more strikes on his downed opponents, but he never did. Instead “The Super Samoan” opted to walk away and let the referee and doctors take care of the injured fighter.
A similar scenario took place at UFC 102 in August of 2009 when former UFC middleweight title challenger Nate Marquardt floored Demian Maia with a massive right hand.
“Nate The Great” had the opportunity to smash Maia with at least one ground and pound strike but instead held back when he noticed that the Brazilian submission specialist was already lifeless.
Unfortunately not every fighter is able to show the type of restraint exemplified by fighters like Mark Hunt and Nate Marquardt.
As noted by BJPENN.com’s Tom Taylor, last night’s UFC on FOX 28 main event was not the first time fight fans witnessed this type of brutal finish from Jeremy Stephens.
This has unfortunately become Jeremy Stephens's specialty. I understand the "heat of the moment" argument, but come on. You are staring, point blank, into the lifeless eyes of your opponent, and your instinct is to hammer him with a few more elbows? Really tired of seeing this. https://t.co/zr4QPxqeVm
— Tom Taylor (@TomTayMMA) February 25, 2018
While it may not be the popular opinion amongst most fight fans, I personally believe that Jeremy Stephens would have received a lot of praise had he chosen to hold back and not throw that second elbow to the head of Josh Emmett’s lifeless body.
While MMA is obviously a tough sport which results in some absolutely brutal finishes, it is moments like Mark Hunt’s walk-off knockouts that showcase mixed martial arts true principles of having honor and respect for your opponent.