A Different Kind of Walk-Away KO
Glory 42. Murthel Groenhart vs Harut Grigorian.
The contest ended in the second round about 45 seconds in with Grigorian being dropped by a right hook that put his lights out.
Here is the controversy: Harut took a left knee to the face and seconds after, turns his back away only to be surprised by a monstrous hook from Groenhart.
Everyone and their mother has an opinion on this one. The critics slam Murthel, saying his shot was cheap and disrespectful and an embarrassment to the sport.
Murthel Groenhart was absolutely correct in his actions; it is a fight and a fighter must defend at all times. You cannot turn your back on a professional combatant.
Spectators are suggesting that Grigorian may have mistook the round for being over or that the knee must have rocked him a bit and he was looking for an eight-count break. Judging from the way Harut casually turns after being kneed in the head, to me it looks like he thought the round was over and was heading to his corner. Very unfortunate is that is the case.
Regardless of what Grigorian intended, he was the only one at fault in the situation (for dropping his guard in the middle of a live fight,) not Groenhart.
Ladies and gentlemen: this is fighting! What do you suppose can happen in the heat of the moment? Are we to expect Groenhart to inquire, “Hey bro, are you okay?”I don’t think so.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to fight fans but bouts aren’t won with good morals and lightheartedness. They are won by whoever is superior in striking, athleticism, etc. They are professionals and there must be a winner. Murthel Groenhart showed up, did his job, got his money and got his W — bottom line.
Despite the online reaction in the wake of the fight’s controversy, there was a genuine and admirable moment of reconciliation and sportsmanship between Groenhart and Grigorian which triggered a standing ovation from the audience. Some may dislike Groenhart for what he did but it was him that approached a departing Grigorian and expressed his apologies for how everything went down.
Even after being attacked by a couple of Grigorian’s fans from the audience (not cornermen, as initially reported) that cut the inside of his cheek from a bare knuckle punch, he did show respect and remorse in the end. We cannot doubt his sportsmanship.
“Fighters to the center. We’ve been over the rules in the locker room. Follow my instructions, obey my commands and protect yourself at all times. Any questions? …Alright, touch gloves and let’s do this.”
Fighters hear these words before every competition. Even spectators have a chance to hear it.
This is what’s said to two fighters right before they are about to throw down. Considering how often it’s recited, it’s important to give some thought to what the words mean.
Arrival & Instructions
For those of who’ve never been involved in competition in combat sports, let me take you through what goes on before a fight actually goes down:
The fighters show up at the venue where the staff, sanctioning body, officials and doctors are waiting.
The very first thing that happens are the rules meeting. Here, the fighters and their coaches and cornermen will gather around and listen for what to do and what not to do during the fights scheduled to happen. This is the first time these rules will be spoken but definitely not the last. These rules mainly cover what strikes are allowed; like if the show had professionals and amateurs on the same card for example, officials will address that amateur fighters cannot knee to the head while professionals are permitted to.
Most of what is talked about seems pretty obvious, as many of the experienced fighters are not paying attention, their heads down and hands pecking away on their phones. The green fighters, on the other hand, are too riddled with nerves to focus clearly.
The officials including the given referee will make it clear to protect yourself at all times. Only the ref can stop the action of the fight. If he does not step in or give some kind of call to stop, then the bout is still in play, period! Let’s look at some things that could stop the action of a fight, either for a moment or permanently:
If a fighter has a cut that is bleeding profusely, he/she could be checked by a doctor, after which the doctor will decide the fate of the bout based solely on the severity of the cut.
Derived from effective strikes to the leg, head or body.
GROIN SHOT |
Miscalculated inside low kicks or knees from the clinch.
ACCIDENTAL FOUL |
Eye pokes, for instance. MMA gloves with open fingers combined with fighters utilizing long guards are the main offenders here. Strikes to the back of the head or striking a downed opponent.
END OF THE ROUND |
The bell sounds and the two fighters return to their corners and briefly recover until the start of the next round.
FIGHTER TAKES A KNEE |
When a fighter is hit with something flush, he/she will drop down to one knee and receive an eight-count while the opponent will stand and wait in a neutral corner.
FIGHTER IS NOT INTELLIGENTLY DEFENDING |
During a flurry or barrage of strikes, if a fighter is shelling up and looking like they are just covering their heads and not advancing any kind of position to not receive damage, then they are in danger of being rescued by the referee in result costing them the fight.
Those are just a handful of things that can halt a bout. If none of them occur, then a fight can still continue! There are only certain things that can trigger a fight to cease mid-action that wouldn’t require the ref to jumping in. Now, let’s look at things that do not stop the action in a fight:
CALLING TIMEOUT |
As silly as it may seem, this has happened plenty of times in fights. A fighter does not have the authority to stop the fight in order to catch a break. However, this can happen if the fighter goes down to one knee.
LOWERING GUARD |
Fighting with a dropped or lowered guard is the fighter’s choice; just because your hands are at your hips does not mean the ref can prevent you from being struck.
FACING AWAY FROM OPPONENT |
This gesture tells the ref that you are no longer willing to fight. It can be considered a verbal submission.
Let’s be clear: in a fight, the referee is god. You will fight until the ref says otherwise.
Keep in mind, though, that even though it is the referee’s job to protect you, above all it is your job to defend yourself — not sometimes, at all times!
I believe there to be a window of opportunity for combat sports right now. This controversial knockout has gone totally viral, generating hundreds of thousands of viewers for GLORY. Maybe this can potentially grow the sport of professional kickboxing. After all, combat sports in the States do primarily generate sales from drama and controversy. It works for the UFC, doesn’t it?
Lastly, there should definitely be legal action in the works after this controversy — not against Groenhart but the individuals from the audience who attacked him. What they did to him was blatant assault and they are lucky he didn’t have a chance to fight back. It happened so fast that security really didn’t even have a chance to stop the attackers from entering the ring as something like that has rarely happened. I suspect Glory will take another look at their security measures during bouts taking place in the ring.
- DJ Miller is a naky muay from Nashville, TN. He began his Muay Thai training in 2008 and accumulated more than 30 amateur fights before turning pro. "Martial arts is in my blood," says Miller. "My father is a third degree black belt in Taekwondo.., I love the experiences that Muay Thai has given me and I love sharing my thoughts what's going on in the Muay Thai world with everyone."