Yesterday I published Enough is Enough: Why an MMA Fighter Walked Away From a Win here at Caged Insider. It told the story of Mike Pantangco, an amateur MMA fighter who was winning a bout — when he suddenly dropped to a knee and tapped the mat to signal submission.
The story, it seemed, was one of an over-matched fighter who was spared unnecessary punishment when his opponent gallantly called off the proceedings – choosing to take a loss rather than risk seriously injuring him. Inside MMA ran the story last Friday, along with brief clips from the bout, and hailed Pantangco’s sportsmanship and martial arts spirit.
But is that what really happened?
Here is the video of the full fight, which took place in Michigan:
I’ll admit, it’s not what exactly I thought.
As you can see, the opponent, Jeremy Rasner, is competitive. He successfully shoots a takedown and moves right into mount to begin the fight.
Pantangco is able to reverse him, but Rasner attacks with an armbar from guard.
Pantangco escapes to land some solid strikes. Rasner looks a little wobbly — but not really hurt — when Pantangco drops to the mat to tap in submission.
So what happened?
If you follow the original thread on the Inside MMA Facebook page, you’ll find Pantangco describes Rasner as a “gym friend” who took the fight “just to give me a fight” when his opponent “backed out at the last minute.”
That seems key to the story here.
It’s not just that it’s an amateur bout, and his opponent seemed a little over-matched. It seems more the case that Pantangco decided that the fight itself was a bad idea. Rasner was a friend who Pantangco didn’t really want to fight, and after landing a few shots and seemingly having that opponent hurt, he essentially lost interest in continuing.
Is it still an act of fine sportsmanship? Yeah, maybe so. For that matter, Pantangco isn’t to blame for how the bout was clipped by Inside MMA, and he isn’t to blame for anyone’s hyperbole on commentary. (Including me. You may want to skip that movie I was talking about yesterday and watch Office Space for the scene about Tom’s “Jump to Conclusions” mat.)
In many ways, the story is, more or less, the same. For Pantangco, it wasn’t worth it to risk his opponent’s health for an amateur bout, where money is not at stake and even a win/loss record isn’t all that important. That’s all true. All credit due.
He also seems a talented fighter. It’s even been claimed by some in the Michigan scene that Pantangco was “taking it easy” on Rasner in the fight. That might be true as well.
But, at least from what we can see from the whole clip, it would seem Rasner wasn’t as badly over-matched as we may have originally thought. Maybe the referee and the matchmaking wasn’t too bad.
And maybe, that’s the best news of all here.