Brad Riddell and Rafael Fiziev put on a show last weekend, which was exactly what was expected out of the two popular action-fighters. The bout ended in a third round KO after Fiziev caught Riddell with a ridiculous spinning wheel kick.
Some onlookers have wondered if Riddell, having taken some big shots from his opponent, tried to call off the contest prior to the finishing strike. Those theorists point to a waving gesture they say Riddell made during the fight.
Riddell’s camp—City Kickboxing—put out a statement refuting claims that Riddell would ever try to call off a fight.
“FYI for those that mistakenly think [Riddell] called this fight off with some strange hand gesture, you couldn’t be more wrong,” they wrote on Instagram. “In close to 100 fights he has never been TKO’d or KO’d until this fight. He would never call a fight off ever, that’s what coaches & corners are there for. It is not in Brad’s DNA to call a fight off. A Brilliant kick separated Brads conscious brain from his body, checkmate. Toughest sport on earth!”
In MMA it is extremely rare to see a fighter or their corner call for an end to a fight. The sport’s culture seems to forbid athletes from valuing their immediate and long term health over the chance of pulling off a victory, no matter how improbable that might be. This culture is certainly influenced by the show/win pay structure used by the UFC.
The loss to Fiziev was the first UFC defeat for Riddell. Previously he thrilled with a Fight of the Night win over Drew Dober. He also holds UFC wins over Alex da Silva Coelho, Magomed Mustafaev and Jamie Mullarkey.
Fiziev’s win gave him five victories in a row. He made his UFC debut in 2019 and lost to Mustafaev by a spinning back kick. Since then he’s beaten Alex White, Marc Diakiese, Renato Moicano and Bobby Green.