“Generally speaking, the way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.”Miyamoto Musashi
Last week I shared my opinion on early stoppages, or when the referee should stop a fight. But what about the fighter – when does he have to stop?
Well, that question was asked this past weekend in TitanFC 53. My fighter, Jason “the Specimen” Soares defended his title against Caio Uruguai. He stuck to the game plan my brother and I made from him and scored a beautiful knock out, as shown below.
However, some people were upset with Jason, saying he delivered unnecessary blows to his opponent before the referee stopped it. To the point that the commentator, Kamaru Usman, made a point to question it as Jason’s responsibility.
In fact, the rules meetings make it quite clear to continue fighting until the referee stops the fight. The fighter is not responsible for the safety of the other fighter. That is the whole reason the referee is in there to begin with.
It’s easy from the outside to say there was unnecessary blows, but you never really know. In this fight, there was 10 seconds left on the clock. If Jason would have done a walk away KO, there is a chance his opponent could have recovered and survive the round. That is not a risk I want any of my fighters to take.
I have seen plenty of situations where fighters that look out for the count spring back to life and comeback to win the fight. I do not expect fighters to be able to make these type of calculations – they are there to finish their opponent by knock out or submission.
The referee’s job is to protect the fighters. If there is a problem with a late stoppage, you can throw the blame at the referee. His sole job is to enforce the rules, which are designed to protect the fighters.
My take on this should not be a surprise if you read my last blog. I have been on both sides of this. I have won by TKO and lost by TKO. I hold no ill will towards my opponent for eating some “extra” blows. It is part of fighting. If you don’t like the idea of getting hit, fighting is not the sport for you.
If you are a fighter and feel like this is a barbaric point of view, chances are you are an athlete and not a warrior.
The average Joe when they get tired, stops and quits. The athlete is someone who can push past fatigue and exhaustion and continue working. A warrior will continue fighting until his last breathe – there is no quit in them.
Guys like Robbie Lawler, Dan Hooker, and the Diaz brothers are warriors. You have to kill them before they stop fighting. They don’t care about blood, bruising, or broken bones – they honor the warrior code. They understand every time they step in the cage, it might be their last fight – and they accept that.
Most people in professional sports are athletes. It is just a sport, a game, or a career. Don’t get it twisted, they are tougher than most people on the planet and can push themselves beyond most limits. But at a certain point, they can be broken. They have concerns about their future, health, family, or career and will concede defeat in the face of insurmountable odds.
A warrior doesn’t worry about anything except winning battle at any cost. If you watched Bellator 214 this weekend, you would have seen a dramatic reversal of fortune between Aaron Pico and Henry Corrales. Pico had Corrales hurt and looked done, but he summoned a strength and rage that allowed him to KO Pico in a brutal fashion. In his post fight interview, he said this:
“At my best, I’ve lived a mediocre life, and I’m ready to die in this mother(expletive).”Henry Corrales after defeating Aaron Pico at Bellator 214
I believe most spectators read that quote and think he is crazy. Perhaps, but that is because they do not understand the warrior mentality, and think the fighters are needlessly in peril. We don’t step in the cage to be safe – we understand the dangers and accept the consequences.
This is why I’m against early stoppages or having fighters stop themselves – it goes against what I consider the warrior code.
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