With UFC 217 culminating in such an amazing fashion, it’s easy to forget that one of the fights on the undercard didn’t finish the way anyone wanted it to.
The heavyweight bout between Mark Godbeer and Walt Harris was looking set to be a good brawl, but midway through the opening round an unfortunate incident occurred. Harris had taken Godbeer down to the mat early on, but the Brit did well to defend the American’s advances and made his way back to his feet after little over a minute or so.
With the two back exchanging on the feet, Harris appeared to hit the British fighter with a low blow and Godbeer immediately grabbed his groin in pain. With the referee jumping between the fighters and shouting three times to stop fighting, Harris continued and launched a head kick that caught Godbeer on the chin.
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The Brit then staggered across the cage onto his knees and after an inspection from the doctor, the fight was called to an end. After reviewing the incident on the cageside monitors, Harris was disqualified and Godbeer was awarded the win in highly unsatisfactory circumstances.
Speaking to MMAUNO.com yesterday evening, Godbeer’s manager, Gokhan Yildizli of Duello Sports Management, described what he made of the incident and explained how hurt Godbeer was.
“Saturday was a crazy night,” Yildizli said. “Nobody wanted the fight to end like that, least of all us. We all wanted to see the fight play out. I thought Mark did very well and trained so hard on both his ground game and his stand up. He had Alex Owen helping him with his ground game and he learned so many good things from him.
“Alas, we all saw what happened. I do not think that Walt Harris is a bad guy, but I think he did a bad thing on Saturday. The referee clearly stopped time and he just didn’t want to listen. He kicked Mark hard, so definitely, 100-percent that was the right call. Believe me, if Mark was ok he would’ve gone on, but he wasn’t, he was stunned and he was knocked out.
“He was really knocked out because he had no clue it was coming and it landed right on his chin. It was not possible for him to continue.”
As far as Yildizli is concerned, the decision was correct to disqualify Harris and award his client the win. Yildizli also said he wasn’t happy with Harris’ behaviour and that he nearly sparked a brawl backstage after the fight.
“Everyone saw it was an illegal kick,” Yildizli said. “We all watched it many times and really it was the right call. As soon he (Walt) did it, he knew he was in trouble and wrong for doing it. He was saying sorry and all that, but as soon he got backstage he was starting to be disrespectful and calling Mark a ‘B*tch’ and a ‘Quitter’ and ‘What the hell motherf*cker, you motherf*cker.’
“There was almost a brawl backstage, but not with Mark Godbeer, Mark was still not good in his head. He was like knocked out.”
With the two fighters having also been previously booked to fight at UFC 216 last month, this was the second time that a fight between the pair had failed to reach a conclusive ending. Suffice to say, Yildizli would rather see the two now go their separate ways.
“It is what it is you know,” Yildizli. “No one leaves a situation like this satisfied and happy. In my opinion, I don’t think we should rematch you know. We don’t needs this guy. He’s nothing. Mark Godbeer is a real fighter and a respectful fighter.
“He’s a clean fighter, but Walt, he didn’t fight clean so we don’t want to fight him again. Mark is now going to rest and he has to sort out his head because he didn’t even remember what happened at that time. Now he’s seen it back he knows what happened and he never wanted the fight to end like that.”