Last weekend’s UFC 296 card featured a late candidate for the sport’s most brutal knockout of the year.
Just under two minutes into the first round of the opening fight on the main card, top featherweight contender Josh Emmett connected flush with an overhand right to the jaw of Bryce Mitchell, immediately collapsing him to the canvas and prompting worrying scenes as Mitchell began visibly seizing on the mat.
Emmett’s joy at victory quickly turned to concern as he was seen on the broadcast dropping to one knee as officials and medics attended Mitchell who — thankfully — was able to get to his fight and walk from the cage soon afterwards. But while the knockout was obviously a less-than-ideal situation for Mitchell, he believes that it could have been far worse and he took to social media to offer his thanks to Emmett for not following up with additional shots while he was unconscious.
My full thoughts after the fite Saturday.
— Bryce Mitchell (@ThugnastyMMA) December 18, 2023
“I want to let you all know that I am so happy with Josh Emmett,” Mitchell said in a brief video posted to social media. “Right after he knocked me out, he could have followed up with hammerfists, and it probably would have killed me. He didn’t even follow up with anything.
“He was just happy with his knockout, and he walked away. And I’m so gracious for that, I will forever remember that. Thank you for not hitting me extra, Josh.”
Emmett responded on X (formerly Twitter), calling Mitchell a “class act” and saying that he wished the sport had more competitors like him.
He added in comments to MMA Fighting: “I’d done this several times. I know they’re out. I saw Bryce go face down, I knew he was out. I had a little celebration, but I was not going to hit him because, it was unnecessary. I know a lot of fighters say you need to keep hitting them until the ref pulls you off, but I feel like when you hit them as hard as I do, there’s no need for it. That was already a brutal knockout, and Bryce is such a good guy, it’s tough when you have to do that do somebody.
“Herb [Dean] was way behind me,” Emmett added. “I could have hit him with several big shots on the ground, but there’s no need. At the end of the day, I want everyone to go home as safe as possible to their loved ones.”
Elsewhere in his video, Mitchell said that he’s “completely fine” and that he has returned to what he was doing before he took the short-notice fight: working on building a barn on his property.