MMA fighters are rightly revered by fans for both their pain tolerance and their refusal to give up – even in the face of tremendous adversity.
There does come a point, though, where it is perhaps better for a fighter to accept a defeat and live to fight another day.
One such example of this occurred this past Saturday at a Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) event in Bensalem, Pennsylvania – and the results are not easy to watch!
CFFC featherweight champion Pat Sabatini (11-3) was defending his title in his home state against late-notice challenger James Gonzalez (6-3).
The champion was widely expected to emerge victorious from the bout, which served as the main event of CFFC 81 and was being broadcast live on the UFC Fight Pass streaming service.
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However, things pretty quickly went wrong for the hometown favourite. Although the champion managed to get his opponent to the ground in the opening seconds of the fight, Gonzalez was swiftly able to get his legs around the neck of Sabatini.
The challenger then transitioned to grab hold of Sabatini’s right arm and then began to bend it backwards at a gruesome angle.
Sabatini’s arm would snap seconds later – and despite this, the 29-year-old still refused to tap out!
Indeed, the fight was only stopped because Gonzalez drew the referee’s attention to the fact that he had broken Sabatini’s arm.
The pro-Sabatini crowd was not at all welcoming of Gonzalez’s upset victory – and it was former WWE and UFC competitor CM Punk, announcing for Fight Pass, who tried to encourage the crowd to show Gonzalez some respect following his championship win.
Speaking to the crowd after the fight, Gonzalez expressed his regret that Sabatini chose not to submit sooner.
“First I would like say, I wish that didn’t happen. I wish he could have tapped and saved his arm from breaking like that…I wish him a speedy recovery and that’s all I got to say about that. I’ve been trying to get fights as much as possible…It’s really hard to find guys who want to fight me, in either weight class, and I guess you guys saw why.”
It was later revealed that Sabatini had suffered both a suspected dislocated shoulder and elbow – in addition to his broken arm.
The toughness of Pat Sabatini can never be questioned, but his decision not to tap out does not seem to have been his wisest choice in hindsight. MMA is, by its very nature, a brutal sport – and that was evidenced in full on Saturday night.