Mixed martial arts legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira displayed incredible grit on Saturday night, fighting the urge to tap out for the first time in professional competition until after his right arm was grotesquely broken.
Nogueira faced fellow heavyweight submissions expert Frank Mir at UFC 140 this past Saturday night and looked to have the fight won until Mir roared back by locking on a deep kimura, to which Nogueira would not submit until the hold had shredded his arm. The loss brings Big Nog to 2-3 in his last five and, considering the severity of the injury and the mounting abuse that Big Nog has endured, has some questioning whether or not the well-respected Brazilian should finally hang up his gloves.
UFC president Dana White discussed the fight and Big Nog’s future at the UFC 140 post-fight presser.
“Nogueira’s a jiu-jitsu black belt, probably the best submissions heavyweight of all time, you know when you get caught in that thing to tap,” said White. “You know to tap out to that. It’s what happens if you don’t.”
Of course, while impressive, Big Nog’s grit led to a broken arm, another on an ever-growing list of structural injuries that Nogueira has incurred over the course of his storied career. White was pushing for Nogueira’s retirement following his quick knockout loss to Cain Velasquez last year and, while he wouldn’t say that he’s going to force Nogueira to retire, he did say that he doesn’t want to see him get hurt and will have a conversation with him about his future soon.
“You’ve got to look at a guy’s entire career, not just how it’s ending. Big Nog’s been in wars, man,” he said. “I was at the Pride fight when he fought Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ [Filipovic], and ‘Cro Cop’ was just blasting him with kicks to the body and shots to the head, and then he ends up pulling off that submission win in the second round. He’s had a career where he’s been through wars. Big Nog is a nice guy and a guy who I respect, and I know they get pissed off at me when I say this stuff, but again, it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately — or fortunately — I’m the one that makes these decisions. I’m going to have to sit down and talk to him. I don’t want to see him get hurt, or anyone else.”
UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida went down on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. For results and a full recap of the event, click here.