ISTANBUL -- The crowd inside Ulker Arena was filled with a palpable energy on Saturday evening (April 12, 2014). A rematch that was five years in the making between Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong was off and running and evenly contested throughout the first minute of round one.
And then things took a turn for the worse for "The King of the Ring."
The No. 1-ranked GLORY light heavyweight threw a low leg kick and when Saki checked it, it caused the injury to his right leg. Saki knew immediately what happened and put his hands on his head in disbelief as Tyrone laid on the canvas helpless.
From his post-fight comments:
"It was a shame what happened. It would have been nicer for the fight to go on longer and I would have preferred to have finished it with a knockout or something. You never want a fight to end like that. I told Tyrone how much I respect him and how I am sorry how the fight ended and that he got injured that way. Tyrone is a real warrior and I have a lot of respect for him, so of course when he is back I think he will be challenging to be champion again."
Saki then went over to Spong and grabbed his hand and hugged him as referee Al Wichgers waved the contest off at the 1:37 mark of the opening round. Spong was immediately tended to by ringside physicians, his coach Henri Hooft, close friend Rashad Evans and his mother and sister, then taken to Marmara University Hospital in Istanbul. As of this article, Spong is back at Hotel Suadiye, also in Istanbul, where he was staying for fight week.
Above is a photos gallery of the beginning of the fight, how the injury occurred to Spong's leg, and the aftermath. This is a major setback for "The King of the Ring" as we was due to have his long coveted boxing fight, and was also set to return to mixed martial arts (MMA) in World Series of Fighting (WSOF) later this year.
MMAmania.com wishes Spong a healthy and speedy recovery. For complete results of GLORY 15 and blow-by-blow coverage of all of the night's action click here.