This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 36 we saw a light heavyweight showdown between Khalil Rountree (9-5) and Modestas Bukauskas (11-5). Both men were coming into UFC Vegas 36 on losing streaks and both men needed a win badly.
In the first round, Rountree was fighting with a ton of urgency. He was hunting for the knockout virtually the entire fight, but couldn’t quite find the finishing shot early on. Bukauskas was doing a decent job of defending while trying to find his range.
In the second round, there were a couple of times where both men came towards the other and had an exchange. Well, halfway through the second round, there was an exchange that ended the fight in a brutal fashion.
As Bukauskas planted his front foot to throw a shot, Rountree perfectly timed a side-kick to the knee. The kick completely buckled Bukauskas and it looked like his knee was completely shredded from the kick. Khalil Rountree picked up the much needed win, but this kick sparked a debate between UFC fighters.
Should the UFC step in?
In this article by MMA Mania, you can see a number of fighters weighing in on the technique after UFC Vegas 36. The most vocal fighters were calling for the kick to be banned due to the serious nature of the technique and the long-lasting damage it can cause.
Belal Muhammad said the technique should be banned. Light heavyweight prospect Jamahal Hill said the kick shouldn’t be allowed. Kelvin Gastelum was another fighter who called for the technique to be banned.
Now, there were UFC fighters that said the kick should still be allowed and those are listed in the article. So, with fighters on both sides of the issue, what should the promotion do?
Well, I think banning the technique causes way more problems than it fixes. Yes, the kick is devastating and could threaten a career. However, as Joe Rogan always says, so can leg locks and submissions on the ground.
At the end of the day, this is the fight business. Whether it’s concussions or damage from submissions, UFC fighters face career-threatening injuries every single day. I know the technique is devastating, but I don’t think it should be banned.
Soccer kicks to a the head of a ground opponent are one thing, but this kick is another. It’s a brutal technique that many of the best in the UFC use. It’s not popular, but even as Modestas Bukauskas himself pointed out, it’s on the fighters to defend. Bukauskas took to Instagram where he stated the following:
“Getting (an) MRI when I get home. Probably ligament damage. And yo, please give my opponent some slack, that kick was all good, it was my job to defend and I didn’t. Let the man enjoy his victory.”