Watch Steve Cofield’s video interview with Brandon Vera and see if you aren’t suddenly glad that “The Truth’s” formerly-overpaid ass is sticking around in the UFC. The best part is when he addresses Matt Hamill’s post-fight celebration after knocking out Vera’s friend and training partner, Mark Munoz, at UFC 96. Hamill caught some flack for acting like he just made a half-court shot worth a million bucks during halftime at a Laker game, when all the while his opponent was still crumpled in a motionless heap against the cage.
As Vera explains at the 3:30 mark, winning a fight in the UFC (particularly by bonus-worthy KO) is actually a lot like winning the lottery:
"What we go through to get to that point, all the hard work and all the effort that you put in to get that shining moment. That’s like hitting the damn lottery, you know what I mean? When you win, you win big. How are you going to act when somebody tells you you won $10 million? Do you care what other people think? Hell no! So am I going to bang Hamill for what he did? Hell no. That was Hamill’s celebration. Am I pissed that he did it? Yeah, because Mark’s my boy."
It’s good to hear a fighter who had every reason to get indignant about Hamill’s celebration turn around and defend it. Those who think it’s classless to celebrate while your opponent may be hurt should probably remind themselves that knocking someone out isn’t like sinking a putt at the Ryder Cup. You aren’t obligated to keep your celebration polite and dignified.
We’ve got to understand that a guy who just avoided possibly serious physical harm while at the same time vanquishing his opponent in dramatic fashion, bringing an arena full of people to their feet, and winning a bunch of money all with one blow is allowed to be overcome with emotion for a little while.
For some reason it seems fine to celebrate if you pause at some point to go over and pat your still-unconscious opponent on the shoulder while doctors tend to him, but getting wrapped up in your own world and playing to the crowd is somehow unforgivable. Give the guy a break.