December’s UFC 296 saw a late contender for 2023’s most stunning knockout when a Josh Emmett haymaker crumpled Bryce Mitchell to the canvas inside the first two minutes of their main card fight.
Emmett’s glee at what was his seventh career knockout win soon turned to concern as Mitchell, defeated just once in his career up to that point, began convulsing on the canvas in the moment after the blow. While he would soon return to his feet after receiving medical attention and return home to continue work on assembling a barn on his property, the Arkansas native says that he’s taking a little bit of a break from the sport to allow his mind and body to heal up.
“I’m on my own concussion protocol,” ‘Thug Nasty’ said in an interview with ESPN. “I’m consulting with my coaches, too, and we’re basically just saying, ‘Don’t spar for six months or something.’ I’ve got to build this house and have this kid, but then I’m right into my next training camp after that. The good thing is that I don’t have to rush into it.”
“The worst part is dealing with everybody afterwards because they all thought I was dead,” Mitchell added. “It’s just terrible. Literally everybody that I knew was crying and just sad. On the bright side, that was the easiest fight for me. I’ve never had a fight where I’ve come out feeling so great.
“I just woke up in the ambulance and could barely remember what happened. There’s no pain. I’m telling you, it was that quick. There was no pain or anything, but everybody was crying, and they thought I was dead. I’m not exaggerating.”
However, Mitchell does have one complaint: he says that he should have been removed from the cage immediately after the fight to receive medical attention — which came later, after a short in-cage delay.
“When a fighter gets knocked out that bad — I was watching the fight back for film study. When I saw how bad the knockout was, I watched the whole thing, and I watched what they did with me afterward, and I was talking afterward, and I was shaking hands and stumbling around,” Mitchell explained. “Dude, they (needed) to immediately escort me out of there. I really do think that needs to be a protocol but because from my standpoint, I can’t remember anything.
“I would much rather – say I get knocked out again. I’d much rather them escort me out of there as soon as I’m up on my feet, and I mean up under the armpits and not even talk to me or anything. Just get me out of there as quickly as possible. …
“They did escort me out eventually, but I don’t even think they should even talk to me in that cage because I was probably arguing with them telling them I’m fine and can walk, I don’t even know what I was saying. They (needed) to get me out of the cage. I’m glad that they did, and that is how they need to do it because, as fighters, they can stumble and fall and hurt their head even worse.”