Tears and class in UFC 283


WHEN have I teared up in a UFC fight?

Watching Glover Teixiera getting beaten up by Jamahal Hill in UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro was painful to watch. And that was the second time that Teixeira went the distance and got beaten up.

When he lost the light heavyweight title to Jiri Prochazka in UFC 280 in Singapore, he was seconds away from retaining the title, when the latter got him in a submission hold to win.

Even as he staggered on several occasions and was getting teed on by Hill, Teixeira never gave up. That was like Rocky Balboa getting tenderized by Apollo Creed.

As a fan of Teixeira who I had the honor of interviewing twice now and having my picture taken with this all-time mixed martial arts great, it was tough to watch. On the other hand, I was also extremely happy for Hill who became the first graduate of Dana White’s Contender Series to win a UFC title belt.

There were so many questions about Hill heading into this fight—can he last five rounds, how can he cope with a submission specialist like Teixeira when he has questionable ground skills, and can he withstand the pressure of a title fight in his opponent’s home country?

Well, he answered that and all as he took the light heavyweight crown. The emotion he displayed was overwhelming as well.

But as for tearing up—that came when Glover placed his gloves in the middle of the ring to end his fight career. And true to his classy form, he called on the crowd not to pelt Hill with beer and popcorn as they did to Brandon Moreno who earlier defeated Deiveson Figueiredo via third round technical knockout when a punch closed the latter’s right eye and was declared unable to continue.

Teixeira implored the crowd—or what was left of it as they hastily made their way out of the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro—to show some respect for the new champion who came all the way to Brazil to win it.

And if that is his last act inside the Octagon, how classy was that?

In spite of mixed martial arts being brutal, I love the sportsmanship when the final bell is rung, when all the trash talking ends.

But some fighters do not do this for show. It is because they are classy individuals.

And Glover is one.

Many have also sounded off when Ukrainian Ihor Potieria celebrated his win over the also retiring Brazilian legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. They deemed it tasteless.

Yes, but give the kid a pass. He was just lost at the moment. He lost his previous fight—his UFC debut—and a loss could probably mean getting cut. I do not believe that he danced to spite or show up Rua. The Ukrainian did pay respects after when his emotions subsided.

You want a lack of class—how about the fans who booed and pelted Moreno after he defeated Figueiredo? That was way more lacking in class. Why don’t the other fighters call out the crowd?

That wasn’t a heat of the moment thing. They were booing every non-Brazilian fighter in UFC 283. Even when Hill was being interviewed post-match, applause was hard to come by.

So let’s not be selective about this “class” thing.

But what an event. Two title bouts. One found his mojo again (Johnny Walker after his TKO win over Paul Craig). Another looks for revenge (Jessica Andrade who called out Wang Zheili.). And another looks for a white hot war (Gilbert Burns calling out Colby Covington).

That’s all good, but I would like to think that at the end of the event, class prevailed.

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