A Senegalese MMA heavyweight who collapsed on his back after being hit by a punch on the bell in a fight has been likened to Aljamain Sterling, the UFC star who was accused of fakery in a hugely controversial win over Petr Yan.
As both fighters threw punches, Oumar ‘Reug Reug’ Kane was caught by a hard right hand from Kirill Grishenko as the bell rang in their ONE Championship Contest, staggering around the canvas for a few seconds before taking to the floor while a medical team spent several minutes trying to fully revive him.
The curious scene was immediately reminiscent of stunned Sterling’s dramatic finale to his acrimonious meeting with Yan last month, when the feared Russian was disqualified after being adjuged to have illegally kneed his rival, who insisted he had been in no fit state to continue after sprawling around the cage for a prolonged period afterwards.
Just saw the heavyweight Aljamain lol
— Justin Tafa (@justin_tafa) April 29, 2021
“Just saw the heavyweight Aljamain,” laughed Justin Tafa, who fights for the UFC in Kane’s weight division, watching Grishenko shrug his shoulders to indicate that he did not understand what the issue was following the shot that caused the previously unbeaten fan favorite to gasp and roll his eyes as he lay on the canvas.
Yan, who has repeatedly accused the dismissive Sterling of acting since he was dethroned as champion in deeply contentious circumstances, echoed Tafa’s amusement in his reply, while some fans suggested Kane should receive an award for playacting named after Sterling.
“Good call,” applauded one of the unimpressed viewers to praise the refereeing decision to declare Grishenko the winner by TKO. “Acting is lame and it’s ruining the sport.”
“It’s hilarious to watch him stand there for two seconds staring, then suddenly fall,” added another. “What a delayed reaction.”
Kane had his sympathizers. “That’s after the bell,” argued one, while a fellow backer replied to the question of whether the official had acted fairly by claiming: “Absolutely not. The last hit was after the bell, so it’s irregular.”
Grishenko seemed a little confused by the saga at the Sinagpore Indoor Stadium. “To be honest with you, after the fight I came to my room and I replayed what happened during the fight,” he told SCMP MMA.
Yeah good call, acting is lame and its ruining the sport
— Alex 🇵🇸🇺🇸 (@ketchup4everr) April 29, 2021
“I saw that both of us punched at the same time during the bell, I guess before the bell. I’m not sure why he didn’t want to go to the third round. I’m not my opponent, but if I would be in his mind, I would definitely continue.”
Grishenko did not openly agree with cynics who suggested Kane was tired. “I can’t answer this question, to be frank, because I’m not my opponent,” he continued.
Reug Reug was looking for a way out…he was gassed
— David Klen (@D_Klen11) April 29, 2021
“But if I was him I would have continued to the third round. I would like to say thank you very much to ONE Championship for the rational decision that happened. The judge, as well, saw that the punch was before the bell – not after.”
The win meant the 6ft 4in Belarusian improved his record to four fights unbeaten as a professional.