(via the UFC’s instagram.)
Following his utterly dominant win over BJ Penn in their completely pointless trilogy fight at the TUF 19 Finale last weekend, Frankie Edgar did not sound like a man who had just defeated a legend of the game for the third straight time. He was happy to have another win under his belt, sure, but in his post-fight speech with Jon Anik, he sounded withdrawn, disappointed. Guilty even. He sounded like a man who had just committed a mercy killing, and perhaps rightfully so.
“I almost feel bad about it,” said Edgar.
At the post-fight press conference that evening, Edgar was similarly short of words. Penn, Edgar’s quote unquote “greatest rival” and a man who made him a champion and a bonafide star in defeat, broke down in tears while answering questions about his legacy, the very legacy that Edgar had officially brought an end to just moments earlier. Frankie seemed almost sorry for having been the man to do it.
For a professional fighter, Frankie Edgar doesn’t appear to have a mean bone in his body, which is what makes this candid photo of Edgar and Penn embracing backstage following the TUF 19 Finale all the more telling. Simply put, Edgar’s face reads like a road map of heartache here. Sorrow, guilt, empathy, and respect — all captured in one perfectly timed photo.
It’s almost as if Edgar had come to the realization that he was (at least partially) responsible for reducing a legend of the game to a literal shell of his former self at that exact moment. “What have I done?” he appears to be asking himself. “And where do I go from here?”
Had Penn’s face been captured in this photo, we’re sure it would have read the same.