Due to the rough nature of the sport and the intensity of their training regimes, it’s not uncommon for MMA fighters to head into a fight with injuries or ailments of one kind or another. Yet things really get scary is ifthey choose not to pull out of a bout despite having been concussed before they even had a chance to step into the cage.
In this article, we’ll look back at 10 infamous examples of fighters taking ill-advised gambles to still fight even though they were knocked out in training camp (or in one instance, backstage). More often than not, it led to disastrous consequences in the Octagon as a result.
It’s fair to say that Marvin Eastman endured a nightmare training camp for his fight with Travis Lutter at UFC 50 in 2004. In the weeks leading up to the fight, Eastman was sparring with Tito Ortiz. The UFC Hall of Famer jumped up to stuff a takedown and accidentally kneed him in the head, causing a concussion.
Eastman didn’t cancel his upcoming fight though. He was soon training again. He was caught with another knee to the head by an overzealous training partner that knocked him out. Under no circumstances should Eastman have been allowed to fight after suffering two concussions in a relatively short period of time. But that’s exactly what happened and needless to say, things didn’t go well for him on fight night.
The second round of the fight was barely underway. Lutter, an excellent grappler who wasn’t considered a threat on the feet, threw an overhand that barely seemed to connect. But Eastman was knocked out cold. It would go down as the only KO win of Lutter’s entire career. Some even questioned whether Eastman had taken a dive due to the ‘phantom punch.’ That was until ‘The Beastman’ explained the circumstances leading up to the fight.