The UFC’s first five round non-title fight happened last night in England, but it ended in the second round. Not with a bang, but a whimper. That’s not to say we didn’t get enough bang in the 10 minutes we did see. Chris Leben and Mark Munoz beat the crap out of each other at UFC 138 in an exciting back and forth battle. But in the end, a bad cut above Chris Leben’s eye forced an end to the fight between rounds 2 and 3.
Leben was having issues with Mark Munoz’s wrestling and pace from the start of the fight, but the real trouble started halfway through the second when a series of rights split him open. With one of the Crippler’s eye swimming in blood, the ref paused the action to check things out.
Leben talked himself into remaining in the fight during this exchange:
Goddard, as the doctor checks Leben’s eye: “Chris, if you tell me you can’t see, I’m going to stop this fight.”
Leben, after taking a deep breath: “I can see.”
Goddard, pointing toward the cage door: “OK, doctor, out we go.”
God bless Chris Leben. He clearly couldn’t see. He was saying over and over that he couldn’t see … right until the ref explained what that meant. Not that Chris didn’t know. But when it gets boiled down to a ‘Do you want to continue?’ question, you’re not gonna find many fighters who’ll say they don’t. It almost makes you wish the ref or doctor would take things into their own hands and say “This is freakin’ ridiculous. The fight’s over!”
In the end, that’s what happened once the second round ended. Whether it was Leben’s corner that called a halt to things or a doctor’s decision is still somewhat unclear, but it seemed like a good call. Even though Leben is known for hail mary comebacks, Munoz was headhunting on his blind side with head kicks and looked like he was ready for another 3 rounds. Leben, who’s body was flushed lobster red … not so much.
What’s next for Mark Munoz? He asked for a title shot but that doesn’t sound likely gauging UFC brass reactions during the post event press conference. For Chris Leben? You can never count him out, but after a brief sparkling moment where he looked like a contender he’s back to the middle of the pack. Maybe after getting cardio skull fucked by Munoz, he’ll finally address that issue. I recommend some triathlon training or something. Hey, it works for Nick Diaz.
(gif via Iron Forges Iron)