Glory 42 had one of the most bizarre — and scary — sequences in recent combat sports memory.
Welterweight fighter Murthel Groenhart won the co-main event bout in Paris against Harut Grigorian by savage knockout when Grigorian inexplicably turned his back to Groenhart in the middle of the round. Seconds after the finish, fans jumped into the ring and attacked Groenhart.
The fans landed multiple punches on the Glory fighter, who said he might have had his jaw broken in the wild melee.
“Some guy caught me with a hook to my face,” Groenhart said on the broadcast. “I got my guard up. With those hands without gloves, it came through to my chin and my teeth. I think it’s broken [jaw], I don’t know. It hurts.”
Glory announcers explained on the broadcast that per the sanctioning body Groenhart didn’t break any rules by hitting Grigorian while his back was turned, because the referee did not step in to stop the action. It was a legal blow and knockout.
“When you are in the heat of the game, you just continue,” Groenhart said. “He turned away. I came after him and got him with the right hook that’s all. I did nothing wrong. It was all in the fight, all in the game. Everyone says in the rules to protect yourself at all times. The referee did not come in. I came in with the right hook. He fell down, and then I saw the referee come in. I did nothing wrong.”
Grigorian’s trainer Nicky Hemmers said on the broadcast that his fighter turned his back due to a cut — “which you never do in a fight,” he said — and he didn’t hold it against Groenhart for hitting him.
“It was not illegal,” Hemmers said. “It was not nice to do, but it was not illegal.”
Groenhart, 30, is one of Glory’s top welterweight fighters and the 2016 Glory welterweight tournament champion. This was his third straight win for the kickboxing promotion and very likely the strangest one, considering how everything unfolded.
“I was in the corner and I saw these guys coming out,” Groenhart said of the attackers. “I was like come on guys this is a sport. Things happen. Some people get emotional, too close. But this is a sport and little children are watching this sport at home. You can not come into a ring like this.”
There were some concerns or at least curiosity among MMA fans when Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones didn’t appear to have the type of animus or rivalry that mirrored Sonnen’s relationship with Anderson Silva. Heck, it didn’t even mirror what Sonnen and Jones had around the cancellation of UFC 151. It was bland and ordinary (although I personally prefer that).
Fast forward to today. Chael Sonnen was interviewed by (one-time?) professional wrestler Steve Austin. Sonnen told Austin that not only did his UFC contract expire months ago, but he never had one to begin with when he fought Anderson Silva. He simply ‘showed up’, as it were. If you believe that, I’ve got some ocean front property to sell you in Arizona.
Now comes word that in real life, Sonnen was attacked by a fan last weekend in Las Vegas at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. Sonnen was glad-handing with fans when one summoned him over. Sonnen obliged only to be at the receiving end of attempted punches, which didn’t land, but still caused the attacker to be rather violently taken out of the premises and likely booked on charges of assault.
All of this is to say the build-up to UFC 159 has been weird, uneven and late. I’m not here to declare it DOA, but it’s certainly much different than what we are normally accustomed to, Sonnen or otherwise. Then again, anything is better than the ‘We Will Rock You’ promo clip the UFC tried to circulate a few weeks ago.
Today’s FanPost of the Day comes from mjanecek who proves that Henderson vs. Melendez at UFC on Fox 7 is the meeting of two fighters who carry 16 lineal titles believe them. Get a load of this:
When Ben Henderson finally meets Gil Melendez on Saturday night, the UFC title will not be the only thing on the line. In lineal terms, there will be a total of 16 different Lightweight titles at stake from various past and present MMA promotions.
For those who are not as familiar with the term, a lineal title considers a championship belt as something that is not bound by promotion, but rather a title that must be won in a fight. Another way to think about it is “The Guy Who Beat the Guy.” For example, when Hector Lombard recently left Bellator to sign with the UFC, he was still considered to be the Bellator Middleweight champion. In the Lineal Title world, he did not lose his belt until Tim Boetsch took it from him at UFC 149. After that, Philippou beat Boetsch. Therefore, Philippou is the Bellator MW champion in Lineal terms.
Below is a list of all the Lightweight titles that are at stake Saturday night and how they arrived at their current owners:
History: Pulver > Ludwig > Griffin > Edgar > Maynard > Edgar > Henderson