Emil Meek shocked the world last Saturday in Milan, Italy by knocking out the infamous submission artist Rousimar Palhares.
The Norwegian fighter was deemed to be just another victim of Palhares' superb leg lock game at Venator FC 3, but he proved many people wrong by stopping the former UFC fighter and former WSOF welterweight champion in the first round. Unlike many fighters, who understandably opted out of fighting the controversial Palhares, Meek saw an opportunity in the match up, and actually asked to fight the Brazilian.
"Yeah, that's right," said Meek on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I heard from my friend Jack Hermansson that they were having trouble finding an opponent for him, and everybody is turning it down, and they try to buy opponents for him and everything. And I'm just like, ‘okay, this is a great opportunity, and I need to get on that right away.'
"So, I just jumped on it. I called Frank, the president, and asked, like, I really want to fight, and if they would let me, because he is a lot more experienced and has competed on a higher level. So, I wasn't sure if he would take the fight or not. But, they asked Palhares' camp, and they said yes. So, the fight was on all of a sudden."
That night, the fight didn't last long, as many expected, but it was the outcome that surprised the people. The 27-year-old Meek recalls the moment he knew Palhares was knocked out, sending the MMA world into shock.
"I definitely felt [it]," said Meek. "I think it was the 3rd elbow, 4th elbow, I don't know, I felt him collapsing, and his grip around my thighs just dropped. So, I took his back, and I continued to pound him."
Meek says the best part about fighting Palhares is that everyone was rooting for him, even if they thought he wasn't going to win. However, Meek believed he was going to beat Palhares, and says he wouldn't have asked for the fight if didn't. He also explained that he didn't want to hurt Palhares, or land extra punches for the fighters Palhares has hurt in the past.
"You know, the fun thing about fighting Palhares is that everybody wanted me to win," said Meek. "I don't think that everybody thought I would win... The thing [is] that everybody was rooting for me, and I really appreciate that... So, yeah, I really wanted to beat him, and I believe in my heart that I could do it. I would never ask for a fight if I wouldn't believe that I would actually have a chance to win.
"And yeah, you know, I didn't want to hurt him for all the fighters that he's hurt. It's not like that. But if he would have hurt me, I would have a different opinion about that, but I stopped the fight when the fight was over. I wasn't like, ‘Okay, he's going to get three extra punches because he hurt somebody else,' but I guess that would be fair though."
Following his impressive performance, the UFC's Joe Silva reached out Meek to congratulate him on his win. Several other promotions have also contacted Meek, in hopes of signing him to their promotions.
"Joe Silva sent me an email, and they congratulated me on the win," said Meek. "I haven't wrote them back yet, I haven't had the time. I can't just reply, 'Hey, nice. Thank you. Can I fight now?' I have to make something beautiful and nice, but I have a sheet or a draft that I'll send them right after we do this [the interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour].
"Yeah, WSOF also reached out and they asked me to do a fight for them for the title, and yeah, so, I'm probably going to talk to them also. And One FC contacted me also, and other organizations. And I haven't heard from Bellator yet."
Meek says he doesn't have an exclusive contract with Venator FC, and wants to represent his country of Norway at a high level in MMA. He's currently 8-2 as a professional mixed martial artist with all wins being finishes, and hopes to one day help legalize MMA in his home country.
"I want to be that figure and that person that can take and legalize the sport, and give the Norwegian fans someone to root for, and somebody that does it great in the world-class [level]," said Meek. "I think now I'm definitely on the right track for it. I want to be that guy, and I definitely think that, maybe, not this fight did it, but a few more fights, absolutely. I think its possible."