On the bad side of a highlight reel
“Every front has a back.”
-Ancient Chinese saying, author unknown
You can define the allure of mixed martial arts in three words – holy f—— s—.
Fans and promotions capture those moments that make you go ‘HOLY F—— S—” in endlessly replayed clips that bring back at least an echo of the feeling.
However, the hard math of fighting is that half the people lose every fight. MMAJunkie’s Ben Fowlkes reached out to fighter community, and asked what it felt like to be on the losing end of a highlight reel.
In what other field is your very worst moment at work not just remembered, but even celebrated, burned into the minds of every fan?
Frank Trigg has a running joke with Zuffa matchmaker Sean Shelby, who is heavily involved in putting together the UFC’s highlight reels. Before the UFC runs it’s pre-event video package of great moments from fight cards past, all set to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” Trigg asks Shelby ‘Are you about to hurt my feelings again?'”
Trigg already knows the answer – he will be getting carried across the cage like a bag of fertilizer by former 170-pound champ Matt Hughes. He’ll be getting slammed on the mat and then choked into submission at UFC 52. (2:30 mark)
“I can’t even listen to that song anymore,” Trigg said. “It was seven years ago.”
“That was my million-dollar fight. If I’d won that fight, I’d be a millionaire. It is what it is. I lost the fight. (Seeing the highlight) still stings, but I can’t do anything about it now.”
Ben Henderson might have the UFC lightweight title around his waist, but the night he lost the WEC championship to Anthony Pettis was also the night he got enshrined in the MMA highlight hall of fame.
“I’m still not over it,” said Henderson. “I won’t lie to you. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it. It affects me deeply to this day. It will affect me for the rest of my fighting career, for a long, long time.”
“I will not let that moment, those few seconds define my career. I was able to bounce back from that the same way Matt Serra over St-Pierre has not defined his career. It was a highlight, replayed thousands of times. How many times did St-Pierre have to see that? It’s the same thing for me. I’ve had to see that kick hundreds and thousands of times. I have to talk about it over and over and over. But I’m using it. I’m using it to make myself better.”
When Dan Hardy showed up in Montreal for the fight between two of his old foes this past weekend, he saw the throng of autograph seekers waiting for Carlos Condit with pictures of his one-punch knockout of Hardy clenched in their hands.
“Just right away, as soon as I walked in from the airport, I was surrounded by these photos of me with my eyes in the back of my head,” Hardy said. “You never get to the point where you feel nothing when you see it, because it always takes you back to that moment.”
“I’m not bitter about it anymore. But I was annoyed about it, because I’d never been knocked out before. I was really confident, and in my fights since then I’m still really confident that I can take a shot. But it can happen to anyone. I’ve always said that, since I like to stand and trade punches, eventually I’ll get hit with a good one and that was it.
“Now I have to look at it from a positive point of view, because that fight changed me so much. If that hadn’t happened, my career might never have got back on track. If I’d lost that fight by decision, I might have been annoyed but not to the point where I would have changed as a result of it.”