A few years back a friend at the last minute couldn't corner one of his fighters, and asked if I would step in. The opponent was a guy I liked and known for ever, Jerry Spiegel. After the fight , I went to Jerry, who won, and told him I felt bad cornering against him.
He gave me a look and said "I would fight my brother with my other brother cornering - this is a a sport."
Jerry Spiegel is right. Mixed martial arts is called fighting, but it isn't a fight, it is a sport, and it is okay for friends to play sports against each other, even this one.
Such was the case Saturday might, when former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida made his middleweight debut Saturday vs. Mark Munoz.
The pair had a gentlemens agreement.
"It's tough to face me friend Mark Munoz, but we are professional. The winner buys dinner," said Machida before the fight, adding presciently, "I will buy the dinner."
And thus it was that Machida KOed Munoz with a headback at 3:10 of the first of five scheduled rounds, held off on a follow up punch, checked on his friend, and then hugged him.
"It was very hard for me because Mark is a good friend of mine," said Machida after the fight. "But you know, as a professional, I don't think about that and just do my job. But now that it's over, the friendship will continue."
So it was written so it shall be done. The pair went ouf for dinner together.