This past weekend provided fight fans with a bevy of action. #Bellator MMA put together its first pay-per-view show in three years and stacked it to entice potential buyers, and the never-ending UFC schedule churned out another Fight Night event (#UFCOKC).
The two nights of fights provided plenty of intrigue, upsets, and stellar performances, but it also featured several moments that were "very MMA". Here's a look at the top five weirdest things to happen in a very weird weekend of fights.
1. Kevin Lee "Submitting" Michael Chiesa
After working for a takedown in the first round, Lee advanced position and climbed to "Maverick's" back, where he proceeded to hunt for the choke while applying punishing ground and pound. With under a minute left in the round, Lee finally snaked his arm under Chiesa's chin. Chiesa fought the hands and broke the grip once, but Lee changed his hand positioning and locked the choke up. Chiesa stopped fighting the choke, seemingly waiting to go unconscious rather than tap out.
Except he never did.
Referee Mario Yamasaki jumped in to save Chiesa, who immediately got to his feet and protested the stoppage. The outcome of the fight was likely not in doubt at that point, but with Chiesa still conscious and no tap forthcoming, he was rightly upset at the fight being called off.
2. Justine Kish Craps Her Pants
In one of the featured bouts of UFC Fight Night 112, #JustineKish took on #FeliceHerrig at 115 pounds. Herrig, who switched from favorite to underdog status in the days before the fight, largely dominated the fight with takedowns, near-submissions, and a steady diet of positional advances and ground and pound.
But the most memorable thing to come out of the bout came out of Kish herself. Late in round three, after fighting off yet another rear-naked choke attempt, Kish ate damaging punches from mount and back mount. She did her best to scramble and avoid damage, but Herrig gave her no room to breathe. With about a minute left in the fight, several brown splotches showed up on the mat right next to the combatants, to the shock and disgust of the audience (see the above Twitter reaction).
For Kish's part, she took the potentially mortifying situation in stride:
3. Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione Double Knockdown
There was hope that the all-time great would recapture some of the old magic that saw him run roughshod over #PRIDE and Affliction throughout the aughts. But many doubted the likelihood of such an outcome. Fedor had not had his hand raised in the states since taking out Brett Rogers under the Strikeforce banner seven years ago. In the interim, his legendary winning streak was snapped and followed by two more losses, while his wins came over middling competition, the most recent being highly dubious.
For a moment, it appeared that fans would be treated to something even more shocking than a Fedor victory over the solid, if not outstanding, Mitrione.
After a feeling out period that lasted several minutes, the two big men connected with flush right hands simultaneously, sending both crashing to the canvas. Double knockouts have occurred in MMA before, but never on this grand a stage, and for a split second, stunned fans wondered if they had just witnessed one.
But Mitrione recovered quickly, scrambled to his feet, and polished off the dazed Russian with a final volley of punches. It was a depressing moment to see the near-mythical Fedor bludgeoned into unconsciousness, his once granite chin cracked yet again. But the rare double knockdown helped alleviate some of the sting for viewers.
4. Michael Chandler Breaks Ankle, Gets Stool Pulled Out From Under Him, Loses Title
In the evening's final title fight at Bellator NYC, long-time Bellator star and two-time lightweight champion #MichaelChandler took on #BrentPrimus, an undefeated, though unheralded, up-and-comer. Many expected Chandler to blow right through the upstart, who was riding two split decisions into his title shot.
Unfortunately for Chandler, the evening did not unfold as planned.
A low kick to the lead calf of Chandler seemed to break his ankle, leaving him visibly compromised. The champion valiantly attempted to fight on, but on seemingly every other step, his foot folded gruesomely beneath him.
Referee Todd Anderson halted the action to have the cageside physician take a look at it, despite the protests from Chandler. The former Blackzilians and Alliance MMA rep sat on the stool being examined before standing to show that he could continue. A representative from either Bellator or the athletic commission then whisked the stool away, unbeknownst to Chandler, who went to sit back down, only to fall unceremoniously to the floor.
It was at that moment that Anderson elected to call the fight, making it appear that Chandler was TKO'ed because he fell for the old chair-pull trick. It was a strange and anti-climactic end to what was supposed to be a showcase performance for the Missouri native.
5. Highly Touted Prospect Aaron Pico Dropped, Choked Out In Under A Minute
Bellator NYC was topped by title fights and big names, but the slate was also riddled with prospects with sky-high ceilings. Earlier in the evening, James Gallagher blew through Chinzo Machida to seize the most impressive scalp on his resume, while boxing champion Heather Hardy made a successful MMA debut with a late TKO victory. Hardy was forced to overcome soe adversity in her bout, but it was nothing compared to what #AaronPico endured.
Pico, a near-Olympic-level wrestler with copious amateur boxing experience, was believed to be the crème de la crème of Bellator's crop of future stars, and he was paired with former #RFA title challenger #ZachFreeman, who entered the bout with a 8-2 record.
Freeman derailed the hype train in just 24 seconds. He tagged Pico multiple times in their initial exchange before dropping him with an uppercut. Freeman pounced on his fallen foe, capitalizing on a d'arce choke that elicited the tap a moment before Pico lost consciousness.
"The Altar Boy" figures to have significantly more promotion behind him the next time he fights, because he had absolutely none this weekend. All the promos talked up the next big thing in MMA, Aaron Pico, who will enter his sophomore effort with an 0-1 record.