Bad tattoos, weird colored hair, a brutally dominant performance, a crazy come-from-behind win, and an inspiring outpouring of emotion. The UFC 209 preliminary bout between Darren Elkins and Mirsad Bektic had it all.
Elkins pulled off an incredible comeback after enduring two rounds of being taken down and being consistently pummelled throughout the fight. Elkins’ forehead and chin were opened up, his jaw severely swollen, and that was just after the first round. The hot undefeated prospect, Bektic, found ways to take Elkins down and punish him with punches and elbows from the top position. He was in total control of the fight for two and a half rounds and on his way to a fifth consecutive UFC win.
Or so we thought.
Elkins, a cagey veteran, dug deep and in the middle of the third round found himself spinning towards Bektic’s back as they were both up against the fence. Elkins landed two consecutive right hooks and a high kick for good measure as Bektic tried to get up.
As soon as the referee stepped in to call the fight, Elkins erupted a primal scream and fell to the mat in an emotional and chaotic moment of disbelief.
This is the type of fight that serves as a beacon of hope for other fighters. A memory bank to go to if they’re down in a fight. The downside to that, however, is that it also deters cornermen to act in the best interest of their fighters. At the end of the first round, former UFC fighter and now Fox analyst/commentator Brian Stann took to Twitter to say he wouldn’t want Elkins’ corner to let him keep taking a beating like he did.
If I am cornering Elkins I have a towel in my hand. Such a nice guy and as tough as anyone. But not letting him take another rnd like that
— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) March 5, 2017
The fact that Elkins went out there and pulled off such a feat, adding to a long line of crazy MMA triumphs, allows future cornermen to let their fighters take more unnecessary damage, because – hey – it’s MMA, anything can happen, right?