This much is certain: It's a sickening way to lose a fight.
In another gut-wrenching tale from the hinterlands of regional MMA, two amateur fighters stepped into the cage on Aug. 23 to battle for the featherweight championship at OO Fight 32 in Washington, D.C. The scrap between Pete Petties and Jeff Melvin was underway and proceeding normally when there occurred a nauseating turn of events.
The video, originally reported on by MMAJunkie, shows Melvin absorbing a kick to the midsection then losing his proverbial lunch seconds later (though, technically, it should be noted that this fight took place closer to the traditional dinner hour). Melvin immediately signaled a willingness to continue fighting, but the bout was waved off, and Petties was declared the winner. That has to be difficult for any competitor to stomach.
"It smells good in here," offered one of the unidentified broadcasters in an utterly unnecessary moment of commentary immediately after the offending humors were released.
"I have never seen this. I have never been live at an event where someone was throwing up," added the other broadcaster.
According to the unified rules of mixed martial arts, the referee has the discretion to call a TKO stoppage to any bout because of an injury, legal or illegal, sustained by a fighter. However, the question of whether "vomit" is considered an "injury" is apparently a question better posed to the nation's gastroenterologists as opposed to its combat sports rule makers, as there is a bit of gray area in the MMA rules around the subject of vomit. Oddly enough, the unified rules do not appear to specifically cover vomit or actions to take or avoid in a vomit-related fighting situation.
In light of these findings, is it fair to say that this stoppage broke new ground for MMA? That it set a new precedent in terms of referee decision-making vis-a-vis a fighter's unloading of bodily substances during a live contest? Yes, it is.
However, it is still far too early to fully grasp the long-term historical ramifications of Petties-Melvin. Let the academics digest what they saw on Aug. 23, and then we may have some more output we can really chew on. Until then, you can say you were right there on the ground floor, a video witness to the warm tide of history.
Scott Harris covers the vomit-related and non-vomit-related MMA issues of the day for Bleacher Report. Stay informed. Stay current. Follow Scott Harris on Twitter.
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