Over the weekend, two longtime heavyweight MMA veterans met in a regional title bout in Indiana, and things got weird pretty quickly. After feigning an injury (or clutching his chest like he was having a heart attack, whichever you prefer), Johnathan Ivey quickly used the distraction to drop opponent Travis Fulton.
He jumped on Fulton and started pounding away for a while, and Fulton appeared to be in big trouble. But the bout continued for a while until Ivey eventually slowed down with his ground-and-pound. Then he stopped. Then he stood up, bent over, and tapped the mat. He conceded the fight.
No one was quite sure what the hell happened, but MMA Fighting spoke to Ivey and he described his side of things:
“It’s kind of complicated. When I turned pro on the undercard of a Hook’n’Shoot event years ago, Travis Fulton was the main event that night. I looked up to him throughout my career and tried to emulate his career as much as I could. Years ago, I tattooed a portrait of him on my leg sleeve, that I was dedicating to the men in the sport that I looked up to.
”The first couple minutes was Travis and I just exchanging punches and kicks. Then I caught him with a left hook that hurt him and put him down with a right hand. Once he went down I followed him to the ground and threw some hard shots. The second one I threw his eyes rolled back in his head. I told the ref Travis was done and to stop it but he didn’t. I threw some more punches and Travis came back a little bit. He was still defenseless, but he was able to bring his legs up, so I put my knee on his head and just threw short shots.
”He wasn’t moving and his head was trapped. His legs were up but he was defenseless. I threw a couple more punches and begged the ref to stop it. The ref wouldn’t. So I stood up and backed away and bent over to tap the mat. Yes, I wanted to fight Travis, but I didn’t want to punch him after his eyes rolled back and he was defenseless. I was never the fighter Travis was and I never will be. He’s the reason I made the decisions I did during my career. I wasn’t going to keep punching him when the fight should have been over.”
He also disputed any talk of faking a heart attack:
”I’ve seen people saying I faked a heart attack… that is ridiculous,” he said. “Those people have clearly never seen me fight. I’m always doing funny stuff while I fight. Travis had just kicked me and it made a loud smack, so I was just playing around like it hurt.”
In addition, he said that he talked to Fulton after the fight, and that Fulton said he didn’t remember anything that happened and that he said he was going to retire.
Around the same time, Fulton posted a very lengthy statement describing his side of things. There are some differences, especially in regards to what he remembers. But he essentially covers the facts in the same manner Ivey does:
“Shortly before the 4 minute mark Ivey landed a hard right hand which dropped me. He instinctively followed up and tried to put me away and I instinctively defended myself. After landing several hard shots Ivey quit. He stood back and tapped out and the referee asked him what he was doing and I recall hearing him tell the referee “I’m done. That’s my f—king hero.
I have difficulty picturing myself being a fighter that another fighter looks up to. Especially a fighter from my generation such as Jon Ivey.
I didn’t attempt to watch the fight until last night. I did get dropped, but I was defending myself. The referee didn’t appear to be contemplating stepping in and stopping the fight. There was less than a minute left in the round and had Ivey continued his attack I could have very well recovered entirely and the round would have ended.”
This is just a segment of Fulton’s full post, which you can read below.