In a night filled with Bellatorisms like a TKO via Looney Tune stool yank and the most underwhelming MMA debut since CM Punk, the peak moment of Bellator 180 might have come during the evening’s co-main event, when, for a few brief but mystifying milliseconds, it appeared as if Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione had knocked each other unconscious at the exact same time.
Although Mitrione would manage to recover first and pound yet another nail into “The Last Emperor’s” coffin a few seconds later, it would be hard to argue that a double knockout wouldn’t have been a more satisfying (and again, PEAK Bellator) moment and even harder to argue that I wouldn’t have totally lost my sh*t had it happened.
Because the double knockout is kind of the zenith of MMA, if you think about it.
It takes everything we love about the sport — competition, unpredictability, and traumatic brain injury — and combines it in a moment so pure that it could practically be bottled into an essence — an essence which I imagine would be named something like “External Domination” or “Fist Mist” if Dana White and/or Reebok were the first to figure out the technology to do so.
Point is, the double knockout deserves a bit of recognition in light of the Fedor-Mitrione What Could’ve Been, which I will now provide via this brief history lesson.
The Originator: Tyler Bryan vs. Shawn Parker
Chances are that you’ve already seen this footage 1000 times by now, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick recap:
- Back in 2008, literally anyone who wanted to could be an MMA referee (whereas nowadays, it’s anyone who wants to and also has $225)
- At LOF 25, the man bestowed with that great responsibility was former UFC fighter and schizophrenic pimp daddy Shonie Carter
- Less than 10 seconds into the fight he was officiating, Indiana regional fighters Tyler Bryan and Shawn Parker exchanged simultaneous right hands that knocked each other stone dead
- Carter’s reaction to this, somewhat understandably, was an almost complete mental shutdown
And thus, we were gifted with not only the first double knockout on record, but one of the greatest viral videos in MMA history.
The Copycat: Anthony Lapsley vs. Aaron Wetherspoon
Just two days after the Bryan-Parker fight went viral, a video of another double KO surfaced from a King of the Cage welterweight bout between Anthony “The Recipe” Lapsley and Aaron “Slam” Wetherspoon. If life imitates art and vice versa, I guess it only makes sense that mixed martial arts, a sport wherein competitors more or less fight for their lives, would begin imitating itself almost immediately.
The twist? Lapsley vs. Wetherspoon had actually occurred one day prior to Bryan vs. Parker, making it both the originator and the copycat in a trend that had captivated literally tens of people.
The Rebirth: Aaron Britt vs. Brandon Alexander
Unfortunately, it would be five years before we’d be treated to another double knockout, but this one from Aaron Britt and Brandon Alexander’s Galaxy Fight Night IV battle would be a doozy. A double doozy, you might even say.
Just fourteen seconds into the opening round, both welterweights would exchange a pair of pinpoint accurate right hands, sending each other crashing to the canvas in an “Oh shit!” moment that actually featured an audible “Oh shit!” from the man who happened to be filming the fight. Aaron Britt would never compete again, likely under the correct assumption that he had been cursed by the MMA Gods for mistakes made in a past life.
Alexander, on the other hand, would suffer an arguably worse fate: losing to a man named Kristin and then calling it quits himself.
The Ruling: Kerwin Sherril vs. Derek Thompson
If the events of last weekend’s UFC Fight Night main event hadn’t convinced you that MMA refereeing is a crapshoot more often that not, then videos like the one above almost certainly will. Transpiring just five days after Britt vs Alexander, an amateur bout between Kerwin Sherril and Derek Thompson was the first of its kind to argue that a definitive winner could in fact be declared in a scenario in which both competitors definitively lost.
Watch as referee Goatee McPonytail not only no-calls a clear No Contest when Sherril and Thompson are dropped with concurrent right hands, but actually allows them to continue fighting until, I dunno, someone starts tasting the color purple. That man turns out to be Sherril, who allows Thompson to hang out in his guard for long enough to recover — which makes sense, being that he was also unconscious at the time — to deliver a few more punches and elbows while the ref nonchalantly checks to see if he’s still breathing.
The Other One Where the Ref Blew It: Owen Martin vs. Jay Jackson
Like I was saying, MMA refereeing in general is just a sentient shrug emoji that works out and occasionally results in a fighter losing out on thousands of dollars and/or brain cells due to gross negligence. Hence, the ending of Jay Jackson vs. Owen Martin at Rumble on the Border 2, also from 2013. After a pair of right hooks leaves Martin on his keister and Jackson on a punch-drunken stumble across the ring, the referee on hand does not deem the fight a No Contest as you might imagine, but seemingly awards the victory to Jackson by virtue of him being the last man (sort of) standing.
Even if his standing was followed by falling and full-on baby deering. Which, if there’s anything more quintessentially MMA than a double knockout, it’s a double knockout followed by a laughably yet depressingly terrible bit of refereeing.
The Shamrocking: Axel Cazares vs. Alan Vasquez
The viral double knockout that happened at Shamrock FC 258 earlier this year was pretty shocking, but if you ask me, even more shocking was the idea that a promotion run by Ken Shamrock had put on 258 events by that time, and even more shockinger, is still going strong today. The last time Ken Shamrock’s name was involved in a promotion, it was for an event wherein “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” fought a 380-pound Ross Clifton and then tested positive for steroids.
To think that he would be capable of hosting 258 events (and counting) without someone being killed in a faulty scaffolding accident is plain preposterous. PREPOSTEROUS I SAY.
Anyways, Vasquez was declared the winner of this one by virtue of getting to his feet first. I’ve always said that “if it works for a nightclub brawl, then it works for MMA,” and it’s good to see that this philosophy is still being carried out as MMA enters its 25th year of existence. Yep, everything is going to work juuuuust fine for our little sport.