Good night Vienna (or Vie-mma). Apologies, I’m a sucker for wordplay
There is something eminently enchanting about the Knockout. It is a wonder to behold, a sight to savour. It carries with it an undisputable finality which a decision win, TKO and submission do not.
With a decision, fighters and fans alike are left to subjectively determine whether the bout has been adjudicated accurately and consequently whether the correct combatant has prevailed.
With a TKO, a fighter may fervently contend that the referee had prematurely intervened, that he was still sufficiently compos mentis to continue.
With a submission, the fighter is invariably (unless the casualty has been rendered unconscious via choke, or a victim’s limb has been snapped) capable of regaining his feet unaided.
However, when a mixed martial artist has disconnected a fellow fighter from consciousness, there remain very few questions that need to be addressed. It is indeed the most conclusive conclusion to an octagon battle, with the unfortunate fighter ordinarily necessitating a period of time to sufficiently regain his faculties and wits. One piece of counsel for the casualty; "Just lie back and think of England".
If MMA were depicted in a cartoon, at this point, little flies would be circulating around the loser’s forehead. The ecstasy provided by a KO is why some wrestlers turned boxers (Rashad Evans) prefer to stand-and-bang, seduced by the lure of a potential highlight reel finish. Similarly, some BJJ practitioners evidently thrive on their newfound stand-up ability (Jose Aldo) rather than employing their primary skill in order to reign victorious.
Briefer on the eye than they are on the mind, a rapid KO can be extremely memorable, leaving an indelible mark on the minds of the fans, as well as on the brains of the victim
And not just in the minds of fighters and fight fans, but the notion of the KO is also embedded within popular culture; LLCoolJ once proudly bellowed ”I’m gonna knock you out”, yet from my recollection there has never been a song composed by a seminal hip-hop artiste entitled “I’m gonna tap you out”, or “I’m gonna grind out a decision” (though maybe John Fitch and GSP should consider this collaboration as a spoof).
As unappreciative as this may sound, the quick KO may leave the fans a little underwhelmed with its anti-climactic nature. After all, we are also paying customers who in exchange expect entertainment, ideally more than 10 seconds worth. It’s riveting to witness the octagon dance partners doing the waltz for a few minutes or so, working each other out, engaging each other and exchanging strikes before the definitive blow is landed. It would be hard not to feel a little short-changed by an improbably quick KO (especially in a main or co-main event), particularly given the degree of hype that precedes such contests.
In the blink of an eye, and before Goldie can even utter “it is all over”, it is actually all over. Mauro Ranallo perfectly encapsulates the situation “this one is over before it even begins”
And some fighters may even lament their lack of cage time, especially newcomers like Duffee, or those having returned from a prolonged injury layoff, having essentially trained intensively between 8-12 weeks for a transient moment lasting literally a number of seconds. In fact, milliseconds are actually required to distinguish between some of the top ten KOs of all-time. In no other sport (aside from other combat sports including boxing) may a victor be determined so quickly.
So enjoy the slideshow, don’t dare blink, and knock yourself out (don’t take me literally of course).
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