Sometimes sportsmanship is such an underrated proponent of the wide world of sports, that most of the time it goes unnoticed; but not in the sport of MMA. Often times referred to as barbaric, Mixed Martial Arts has overcome scrutiny for years, and has surpassed many obstacles in the way while steadily becoming one of the most recognizable sports in the world. Honor and respect of the true arts and towards the many that practice them, is just a minuscule sample of what many practitioners preach before taking part of a days lesson; or for some, before throwing on their gi and stepping onto a mat. The true beauty of sportsmanship in Mixed Martial Arts was in full display on an amateur fight card for a promotion called, Prison City Fight League; where two flyweights squared off in a cage.
The two flyweight fighters in the cage were Mike Pantangco and Jeremy Rasner. Pantangco used an erray of strikes and combinations to batter Rasner through the first round. Landing body and head kicks, along with crisp combinations; and a right hand that wobbled Rasner on a few different occasions. After landing a nicely timed spinning back fist, Pantangco followed up with an overhand right that landed flush to his opponent cheek bone. Pantangco backed up near the cage and went down to one knee, and tapped his right hand onto the mat; signaling the ref that he had forfeited the fight. Rasner was shocked when Pantangco embraced him afterwards, raising his over matched foe’s hand in victory as he walked around with him inside the cage.
Afterwards Mike Pantangco was reached by AXSTV’s “Inside MMA” to discuss his actions inside the cage. Pantangco expressed that this was an amateur event, neither fighter was being paid to perform inside the cage. Instead of finishing the fight in brutal fashion and potentially seriously hurting his opponent, he opted to do something not many have seen before; forfeit a fight that he was winning. It seemed as if Pantangco knew that his opponent was not going to give up and keep coming, no matter the punishment that was received. The merciful Pantangco could have made it a night that Rasner would have never remembered with all the head shots he was taking, but instead walked down a different path that only one could admire.
Organizations like the UFC and Bellator have become more predicated on showmanship and confrontation to help sell their fights, side stepping the very morals that derive martial arts. It is somewhat a breath of fresh air to see that some fighters are willing to take the high road when it comes to taking precautionary measures for their opponent inside a cage. One would say that it is a refs job to determine on how much punishment one should absorb, which is true to an extent. Pantangco was just doing what he thought was right at the time. Some may agree, some may not; sportsmanship was the key here, and the merciful act of this amateur fighter perfectly defines what a true martial artist is.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Sports Writer Leading the coverage in MMA