Frankie Edgar’s final fight has ended in the most brutal of ways after he was KO’ed by a brutal knee from Chris Gutierrez in the first round.
In his 30th and final UFC fight, fans were hoping the former UFC lightweight champion would go out with one more win but Gutierrez had different plans, jumping up and landing the knee flush on the chin and leaving Edgar out on his back.
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While it was hardly the way anyone wanted to see Edgar go out, it’s not uncommon in combat sports.
“There are no fairytales in fighting and a vast majority of our heroes go out like that, on their backs,” former champ-champ Daniel Cormier said in commentary. “That’s the way it works in fighting and it absolutely sucks.”
Edgar spoke after the fight and had plenty of love from the fans.
“I love this sport man, I didn’t want to go out like that,” he said. “This sport’s a b***h man. I have my family here, that’s all that matters.”
The crowd chanted his name as he left the octagon and hugged his family in a fitting send off for the champion.
Edgar was the lightweight champion for three defences in the UFC before he was usurped by Benson Henderson in 2012.
While he had been with the promotion since UFC 67 in 2007, his previously reliable chin had become suspect recently.
After his final fight, he had lost five of his last six, KO’ed or TKO’ed in four of the losses.
The victory was bittersweet Gutierrez.
Initially celebrating emotionally with his team, Gutierrez tried to lift Edgar onto his shoulders but settled for an embrace in the middle of the octagon.
He said: “To give anything less than my all would be a disrespect.”
Social media was quick to react.
Freelance Eurosport reporter Marcel Dorff posted: “Frankie Edgar is a f*cking legend. Thank you for an amazing career. A true role model in the sport. My heart hurts to see him go out like that. All the best to you Frankie.”
Yahoo combat sports reporter Kevin Iole wrote: “It ends terribly for Frankie Edgar. Gutierrez caught him with a knee to the chin, a one-hitter quitter, and the fight, and Frankie’s career, comes to a swift and ignominious end.”
UFC Fight Pass content creator Ant Evans tweeted: “Mma is a cruel girlfriend. #UFC281 Thank you, Frankie. For everything you did for MMA and how great you were to work with.”
MMA reporter Ariel Helwani added: “Chris Gutierrez brutally knocks out Frankie Edgar. Edgar stiff on the ground momentarily. Ugh. His kids are cageside. Huge moment for Gutierez, he did what he had to do, but I wish this wasn’t the way they booked Edgar on the way out. He deserved to fight someone his age. Damn.”