VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The moment the left hook landed on Yves Edwards
' jaw, the fight had been decided -- even if Sam Stout
didn't realize it right away.
It took a moment for Edwards' legs to stiffen up as his upper body pitched slightly forward and then rocked back. He was already unconscious by then, but the whiplash motion of the fall sent his head snapping back when his body hit the mat. The sound of the back of Edwards' head hitting the canvas was like someone smashing a car fender with a baseball bat -- a sickening crash that echoed throughout the Rogers Arena.
Stout rushed in to add a finishing blow, but one look at Edwards and he knew it wasn't necessary.
"I saw...he folded right up and went down and hit the back of his head pretty hard," Stout said at the UFC 131
post-fight press conference. "I had my eyes right on his eyes and I saw them roll back, so I wasn't going to go in and try to do any more damage than was necessary."
It wouldn't have been the first time a fighter added an unneeded blow to a downed opponent, but Stout explained that his respect for the MMA veteran Edwards made him reluctant to do any more damage than was absolutely necessary.
Besides, Stout added, the guy had given him one of his Oreos at Friday's weigh-ins. What kind of person would he be if he poured on the punches after that?
"This is just a sport to me and I'm not somebody who's trying to hurt anybody," Stout said. "And Yves Edwards
is a guy with class and I've respected him for a long time. He's a good guy. He gave me a cookie at the weigh-ins. I'm not going to try and hurt a guy like that." UFC
president Dana White called it "one of the nastiest knockouts I've ever seen," which makes it only fitting that Stout earned the $70,000 Knockout of the Night bonus.
"I don't think he even thought he had to go in there and finish him off," White said. "When he hit him, I mean, it's one of the most vicious knockouts in UFC
history, if not the most vicious."
Though Edwards lay motionless on the mat for several minutes after the knockout, he eventually left that Octagon under his own power. On Sunday morning he took to Twitter to assure fans that he was doing fine.
"Thank you everyone for all the support," Edwards wrote. "I'm fine and appreciate your concern. Congrats @sammyjstout it was fun while it lasted. Great job!"
For Stout, the knockout victory was a joy and a relief after so many fights without one, and the emotion carried over into his post-fight celebrations, he admitted.
"I've been calling myself 'Hands of Stone,' and I haven't knocked anybody out in the last five years, so I was starting to get a little worried about it," said Stout, whose last KO win came in September of 2007 against Martin Grandmont in the TKO organization.
"It was definitely a big relief to get that knockout. It was a good feeling that I haven't felt in a while and I think you can see if you go back and watch the tape of my celebration, it got extended a little bit. I was jumping up and down and screaming for a while. It feels good to be knocking people out again and I hope to keep it going."