Yesterday evening I had the most staggeringly déjà vu moment I’ve ever experienced watching MMA.
It was late last year and I was on my feet and howling in the stands at the at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City. The fourth round of my best bud Lauren Murphy’s fight against many-time world champion kickboxer Miriam Nakamoto for the inaugural Invicta bantamweight belt had just started, when out of nowhere, Miriam collapsed. She rolled onto her side screaming in pain, Lauren rushed over to her to see if she was alright, and the fight was over. It was such a shock that none of us knew what was going on for several minutes. We just stood there trying to piece things together. After they’d checked Miriam over the replays started rolling over the big screen and it all made sense. In the third round, Lauren had taken Miriam down, that much we’d seen. What we hadn’t been able to tell from the stands was that Miriam’s ACL tore during that takedown, she winced in pain and frustration, and it was that knee that went out from under her in the fourth.
I couldn’t believe I was watching it happen all over again on the largest MMA stage in the world last night, let alone to one of my all-time favorite fighters, Carlos Condit. When Anderson Silva broke his leg kicking Chris Weidman, the replays made me feel sick. When Carlos’ leg seemed to come apart under the skin of his knee last night, it was so much worse. I hate seeing him lose, and seeing him hurt so bad fucked up all the excitement and atmosphere the previous fights had been building at my house. I can’t even imagine what his wife was going through watching him keel over like that.
What happens from here, I’m all too familiar with. Tyron is newer on the scene, and Carlos has a well-established fan base who will probably try to discredit him in any way they can. People will be holding that win over Tyron’s head for a long, long time, saying it isn’t legitimate and that sucks for him and is hardly fair. People will say it was Carlos’ knee that won Tryon that fight, and not Tyron himself. He seems like the kind of guy that doesn’t really give a shit what people are saying, and I’m glad for that. Having now, sort of, been on both sides of this situation (in that I love Lauren and she was in Tyron’s place, and Carlos is my original favorite fighter and he is now in Miriam’s place), the whole thing was surreal and horrible to watch.
Before, I understood in principle why Miriam’s fans were so quick to rush to her defense and trash Lauren, but I was really just attempting to be logical in an emotionally charged situation. Now, I actually, personally, know what it’s like to watch someone you so admire crumple like a skyscraper in an earthquake. But, Tyron fought a smart fight. He knew Carlos was injured and he took his opportunity to capitalize on that. In fact, I think it shows a great deal of intelligent awareness and killer instinct that he didn’t hesitate to use an injury to his advantage.
The fact of the matter is that MMA is a sport in which your sole intention is to injure your opponent to the point that they cannot continue fighting. Picking and choosing which injuries that caused a stop are legit and which one aren’t doesn’t really make sense given the nature of the game. It sucks that both Miriam and Carlos can’t compete. It sucks near as much for Lauren and Tyron that they aren’t given credit for persevering over such phenomenal opponents. And it sucks for the fans in both cases who wanted to see those fights play out as far as they could have, whether they’re on the injured party’s side, or the winners.
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