Like any other sport, MMA has its very harrowing aspects. From the debate over fighter health insurance to the debate about promotional campaigns failing to make fighter health a priority.
After UFC 283, the issue at hand is not complaints about hierarchy.
Even if you only focus on the last few years, in some cases the main topic of the fight is “why the corner/team don’t throw in the towel or pull their boxer out?” Unfortunately, in MMA it’s not the same combat sport as boxing , there is a notion that almost forbids throwing in the towel. In a way, you rarely see coaches pull their boxers out of fights or throw in the towel no matter how well they perform.
There have been several times in the UFC’s just-passed year that watching fights has become decidedly uncomfortable during fights. Back in December, Darren Elkins took on Jonathan Pearce in a featherweight bout. Despite the scorecard saying “30-27, 30-27, 30-26,” Elkins was soundly beaten. These days, Elkins’ nickname “The Damage” is often used as a joke, but there have been a few times during his recent losses that he looked “drunk” and should be out of the game. Even before that, his fight with Nate Landwehr was ugly as the 38-year-old had his own blood on him.
Fast forward to last weekend and we had two solo fighters who could have really benefited from getting out of fights after taking a ton of penalties.
On the one hand, Lauren Murphy took on Jessica Andrade in a lightweight fight at UFC 283 and, unequivocally, was completely dominated.
Murphy absorbed a staggering 231 major blows, 69 percent of which were to her head. The unsettling part of this fight that didn’t quite suit May was that the people in her corner could see that after two rounds, she was getting a staggering penalty and not providing enough offense herself to change the outcome of the fight . Entering the final round, Murphy was clearly two rounds behind. While you can understand her corner not knowing how the first two balls were scored at 10-8, it was clear she was going to lose the fight.
Murphy trailed 20-17 on both referee scorecards and remained 20-18 on the opposing scorecard. With that in mind, and seeing the punishment she’s receiving, she should never have been allowed to leave in the last five minutes. The former title challenger issued a statement after all was said and done, praising her corner for not letting her out of the fight. But the fact that she even commented on it suggests there were valid reasons to pull her from the beating. It’s sad what happened in that fight, trying to reassure that “she was too tough for her own good.”
Lauren’s corner would have spared her five extra minutes of domination, but instead she chose to advise her on her “body language.”
“My wounds will heal with time”
You know what this is bugging me about? CTEs are not special. It doesn’t care if the brain that gets knocked into the inside of the skull is male or female. It’s just gray matter that gets damaged and eroded. https://t.co/6gblSUYNQd
— Stephen Haynes (@CrooklynMMA) January 23, 2023
In the same bout, Glover Teixeira battled Jamahal Hill for the vacant light heavyweight title. While not as severe as Lauren Murphy, Glover also absorbed a fair amount of damage. What sets this man apart is that the 43-year-old has a very deep gash above his eye. One thing to highlight in this game is that referee Mark Goddard received a fair amount of criticism for not stopping play.
However, every time he begged Glover to fight back, Glover complied, even though it looked like Goddard could step in and spare Glover. The same goes for Lauren Murphy, who at no point was wobbly or defenseless, making it difficult for Osiris Maia (referee) to step in and stop the play.
But that’s where you’d hope that the fighter’s corner would take a stand and consider their fighter’s health. So why don’t they? To be fair, Glover Teixeira’s corner, between rounds 4 and 5, they actually considered pulling him out (which was caught on camera), but Glover made it clear he wanted to go on , because he still poses a threat to Hill.
The whole and end result of all of this is that in some cases a fighter’s decision to keep fighting should be taken away from them by those closest to them. They sacrifice their bodies and livelihoods for the entertainment of their fans, but in the long run, that’s not the most important thing. It is out of respect for them that we just want to protect their health as much as possible.
This isn’t just a complaint from fans or the media.After UFC 283, Teixeira’s coach John Hackman announced he will withdraw from the turnadding that while he’s glad the fight didn’t stop lest the narrative become about him, “I’ll throw it in after the third. I’d be very happy if the fight stopped there. I don’t think there’s been any after that.” reason to continue.”