Douglas MacArthur once famously said that “old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”
Unlike old soldiers, however, old MMA legends never die, they just get beaten to a pulp like the curb stomp scene in “American History X” when they try to make an ill-advised comeback.
Case in point:
Cain Velazquez at UFC Phoenix on Sunday, as the once-great MMA fighter got smoked by Francis Ngannou in just 26 seconds.
Velazquez had a roughly 900-day layoff from the sport, so for every second the fight lasted, Velazquez’s layoff lasted a month.
That’s … not exactly much of a return on time investment.
The whole fight was disappointing not just because Velazquez got embarrassed, but because his being a patsy for Ngannou deprived the viewing audience on ESPN of the chance to enjoy one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport.
This is a guy who tends to cat-and-mouse his opponent at times before delivering the coup de grace so everyone gets their money’s worth.
This time, the mouse just surrendered.
— UFC (@ufc) February 18, 2019
To be fair to Velazquez, he didn’t just take a dive.
It sure looks like Ngannou connected flush on that right uppercut that drops Cain and his knee buckled when he’s falling. I’ve watched it a few times and you see Cain’s head snap when Ngannou’s punch connects. #UFCPhoenix
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) February 18, 2019
What Damon Martin of UFC.com is getting at in that tweet is the complication of what happens when a man is out on his feet with nothing to hold him up.
When Velazquez caught that uppercut to the chin, all of a sudden all of his weight was right above his knee joint with no conscious impulse to his muscles or ligaments to resist the force of gravity.
Which, in turn, buckled the knee in such a way that Velazquez would be unable to rise.
Just getting the lights turned out is bad enough, but to blow out a knee in the process is adding injury to insult to injury.
On the bright side, Velazquez did not appear to be severely injured to his knees.
He was up and walking around on his own power after the fight was over, maybe a little sore but for the most part unharmed.
But Ngannou sent a clear and present message to Velazquez’s hopes of a comeback.
Because it was brutally obvious — with emphasis on brutal — that the sport has passed the former champion by.
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