Competition in MMA often comes down to inflicting as much punishment as possible in a short amount of time.
In spite of that fact, there is an undercurrent of respect and sportsmanship that flows around the sport.
All that bluster before fights melts away into embraces and handshakes after hard fought battles, well, at least most of the time.
China’s WBK 22 show featured one of the most glaring displays of poor sportsmanship on recent record as Ibragim Khalilov quickly destroyed Bakhtiyar Barotov.
He used the ceremonial glove touch at the beginning of the bout to close in and knock out his opponent in short order.
The sucker punch that won Khalilov the fight wasn’t technically dirty, but it's still an incredibly cheap tactic to be sure.
A sport as brutal as Mixed Martial Arts has rules in place to encourage fighters to always be on their guard when in the octagon.
When someone isn’t, things like this happen. Although the victory is undoubtedly hollow because of the cheap nature in which it was obtained.
Fans must judge for themselves whether this was a coordinated attack that broke all of the rules or if Barotov should have simply been ready for anything due to the nature of stepping into the cage for a fight.
This was a bizarre fight and chance are any future opponents will be looking over their shoulders at all times when facing off against him.