WATCH: MMA fighter taps out to spare opponent in stunning act of sportsmanship
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once remarked that “Winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing.”
That may be true on the gridiron. But one amateur MMA fighter has become a viral video sensation for taking the exact opposite approach in a fight from this past March.
The fighter in question is Mike Pantangco, an amateur MMA flyweight (125-pound) fighter with a 6-0 record. This past March, he took on fellow flyweight Jeremy Raser under the auspices of Jackson, Mississippi-based regional MMA promotion “Prison City Fighting”.
Even with amateur MMA’s shortened rounds (three minutes, as opposed to the usual five), it was clear Pantangco had the edge. He battered Raser with strikes, threatened with submissions, and seemed to have him out on his feet in the closing seconds of the frame.
Then Pantangco did what nobody expected: he tapped out.
That’s MMA parlance for tapping your hand on the canvas, indicating you wish to submit. Usually, this is done when locked in an opponent’s submission hold, or after an accumulation of strikes – not when you’re standing across the ring from your adversary, seemingly moments from victory.
Pantangco explained his decision to submit in an interview with AXS TV’s Inside MMA, saying that he was concerned with sparing his opponent unnecessary damage – especially in an amateur bout, which is unpaid and doesn’t count against your professional win/loss record.
“I just feel like we’re amateur fighters. We don’t get paid, we don’t get money, and I know the only thing I’m going to finish the fight is him to go in the hospital or get hurt,” Pantangco explained. “I just feel terrible, so I’m just going to give him the win.”
It’s a notion that’s decidedly more Master Yoda than Chuck Liddell. Yet in a sport sometimes derided for its violence, who can fault one of the participants for putting someone else’s safety ahead of his own personal gain?
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