It was a pretty slow weekend in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) for those fans who count on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to fill their weekend void, but there was no shortage of fireworks on the regional circuit.
You can thank Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) heavyweight Drew Chatman for that, as “Honorable” betrayed his own nickname at LFA 36 last Friday by knocking out Irvins Ayala and using his downed opponent’s back as a springboard to execute a front flip.
Watch the video replay here.
What can only be described as a “dick move” cost Chatman his first pro win, since making contact with his opponent after the fight ended resulted in disqualification. California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) was not amused either, handing down a 90-day suspension and withholding his fight purse.
The apologetic Chatman welcomes the punishment, based on his conversation with MMA Fighting:
“I don’t deserve to get paid for that. It’s disappointing watching that. My mother has to see that. People that look up to me and see me become an inspiration to them have to look at that. And at the end of the day, when you actually look at what took place, I’m OK with having my pay taken away. I’m OK with being suspended 90 days. I’m OK with that. Because you can’t get that back. The video is priceless. I have to look back at that and live with regret every single day. I want to apologize to Irvins Ayala. He was a good opponent. And he brought the fight to me. And he had a lot of heart. It was not a good move on my part as a martial artist. I’m not gonna play the victim here, because when you look at it the real victim here is Irvins Ayala. All this publicity, all this media, the reality is I was wrong and I ain’t trying to gain no fame off of this, because I’m a martial artist.”
I was more disappointed at how sloppy his front flip was. Just terrible. Though I suppose it’s no worse than this.
While it’s easy to see how Chatman may have gotten lost in the moment, it’s even easier to see why he’s accepting his punishment with zero push back. His fight purse was only $500 and missing 90 days of competition is equal or less time than most combatants take between fights.
In addition, what happens in LFA usually stays in LFA, because regional MMA is only as popular as its most recent viral video. At age 23, there is plenty of time for Chatman to rack up some wins and put this unfortunate incident behind him.
The same can be said for Ayala, though I’m sure LFA will try to market a rematch at some point while this story still has a little juice left to squeeze.