Mixed Martial Arts is one of the most popular sports in the world right now, and, like boxing, part of the fun of it is seeing two opponents face off and diss each other in press conferences in addition to their physical confrontation. The pinnacle of this in the UFC is Conor McGregor, who puts on quite the show before all of his fights - antagonising his opponent, throwing them off their game, and ensuring that we all tune in to see what happens on fight night.
It definitely worked out for him, given how much money he earned for last year's fight against Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring, and his recent face-off with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. However, there are times where tempers run high, and things go a little too far - and the chaos that ensued at the Khabib/McGregor fight isn't the only scandal to hit the sport this month.
Video footage from a recent fight between MMA fighters Austin Batra and Perry Hayer has gone viral for all the wrong reasons. The pair were competing for the Amateur Welterweight Championship in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and the fight ended with Batra landing a knockout blow to his opponent.
However, what surprised viewers was that, immediately after knocking him down, Batra leapt up with both fists in the air. The referee had to step in to prevent him from attacking him any further, and Batra paid for the move.
After this acrobatic leap, Batra was disqualified, and Perry Hayter was declared the winner. In a follow-up Facebook video, Batra explained his actions:
"I dropped my opponent with two left hooks, and as I was going in for the last one, the referee came as I left my feet. I had left my feet, and I was going to go and hit him with, like, a little Superman punch or whatever, right. But as I was in the air I tried to change my direction.
"From my point of view, I was focussed on my opponent’s eyes. I did not see the ref coming from my angle. I was in the air when the ref was waving off the fight, so I turned away and didn’t actually connect with him like I could have. I tried to avoid any contact as best as I could, given it happened all so fast.
"As the referee came above my opponent, I had to avoid both of them, and I went to the side a bit. That’s all that happened."
When asked about the incident, Hayer said:
"We saw the video. He put his hands down, he relaxed, the referee moved in and he chose to jump on me. His emotions got the best of him and it shows how young he is, how much he has to learn still."
The British Columbia Athletic Commission have decided to stick by the initial decision to disqualify the fighter. They added that they will be "reviewing the Batra vs. Hayer fight to determine the outcome of the bout and if any further disciplinary action is required as a result of potential unsportsmanlike conduct".