All Around Nice Guy
Has anyone even watched this fight?? Cuz i didn't... Surprised i haven't heard anything about this. Anyone want to Gif me the FacePlant?When Kurt Pellegrino freed himself of a rear-naked choke by face planting his opponent into the canvas at this past weekend's UFC 111 event, one question quickly came to mind: How in the hell did Fabricio Camoes survive that?
A second question soon followed: Isn't head-spiking illegal in mixed martial arts?
Sensing some confusion in the MMA community, the New Jersey State Athletic Board's Nick Lembo sent an email to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) to explain why Pellegrino, who ultimately earned a submission victory, didn't run afoul of the rules.
As Lembo explains, the move was allowed because it didn't come in the form of an illegal "piledriver," a type of head spike in which a fighter has control over his opponent.
First things first, though.
UFC 111 took place March 27 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and Pellegrino vs. Camoes (thanks to the late cancellation of a Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch fight) was one of five bouts to air on the night's pay-per-view broadcast.
In the lightweight contest, Camoes took his opponent's back, secured his hooks, and worked for the rear-naked choke, all while Pellegrino remained in a standing position. Unable to shake free from his fellow jiu-jitsu ace, Pellegrino, who was already hunched over, dove into the mat and sent Camoes' head and neck crashing into the canvas.
The move knocked Camoes loose – and briefly knocked him out cold. He awoke quickly after getting tagged with a couple punches, and though the fight continued, Pellegrino ultimately ended the bout with his own rear-naked choke at the 4:20 mark of the second round.
The fact that Camoes was the one initiating the submission is an important point.
"It should be noted that when a fighter is placed into a submission hold by their opponent, if that fighter is capable of elevating their opponent, they may bring that opponent down in any fashion they desire because they are not in control of their opponent's body," Lembo wrote. "The fighter who is attempting the submission can either adjust their position or let go of the hold before being slammed to the canvas."
In other words, if you ride the bull, expect to get bucked. And if you do get bucked, you've only got yourself to blame for not letting go.
The series of events, of course, played out quite differently than another fairly recent high-profile example of head spiking. In a UFC 85 bout with Thales Leites, Nate Marquardt picked up his opponent, and in a move seemingly right out of the WWE, dropped the middleweight on his melon. Two costly point deductions ultimately resulted in a split-decision loss for Marquardt. Surprisingly, though, neither point deduction was due to the piledriver (the first came from kneeing a down opponent in the head and the second for strikes to the back of the head), but it did bring the topic of head spikes to the forefront.
But unlike Marquardt, Pellegrino wasn't attempting a piledriver, which is defined as "any throw where you control your opponent's body (while) placing his feet straight up in the air with his head straight down and then forcibly drive your opponent's head into the canvas or flooring material," as Lembo explained.