Rear-naked choke. That's the move both Nate Diaz and Miesha Tate used to win their respective bouts at UFC 196. Although Diaz and Tate applied similar techniques, their opponents had different reactions: One tapped out and the other didn't.
After the event, Holly Holm, Tate's opponent, was praised by fans for fighting to the very end by choosing not to tap out, going unconscious. But Diaz's opponent, Conor McGregor, was criticized for choosing to tap out, forcing referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.
And that's when the old debate of whether there is honor or not in choosing not to tap out reemerged in the MMA community.
Renzo Gracie, who's considered by many to be a living legend in the martial arts world, believes there's in honor in not tapping out.
"Definitely, it's a compliment to your opponent if you don't tap," Gracie said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. "This shows he fought a much greater fighter. We always thought that way, you know."
Almost 16 years ago, back in August of 2000 at Pride FC 10, Gracie fought Japanese fighter and skilled catch wrestler Kazushi Sakuraba. That night, Sakuraba caught Gracie in an arm-lock, putting him in a position similar to Holm or McGregor's, where the only two options available were to tap out or not.
It was then that one of the most memorable moments in MMA was born, as Gracie refused to tap out, forcing Sakuraba to break his arm.
"The first time I was actually caught was by Sakuraba in the arm lock and I was extremely glad when I left because I made sure that my mind was stronger than my ligaments and my body," Gracie said. "That was a victory of my mind over my body and I was sure I was a samurai that day. My whole life I wondered if I would or not [tap out] so what Sakuraba gave me was something I will cherish by the rest of my life."
Having experienced being in that kind of situation, Gracie believes McGregor could have taken the same route as Holm.
"McGregor could have not tapped, definitely," Gracie said. "But it's up to him. He's definitely a great fighter and I love the way he fights."
Despite the outcome of the fight, Gracie believes that the Irishman had a good performance. He's also glad that it was Diaz who handed McGregor's first loss in the UFC.
"He [McGregor] fought very well. Nate is just a bigger frame and was able to put up with the punishment and when he had a chance to finish the fight, he did it extremely well. Like even when he took McGregor's back and he was sinking in the choke, you see McGregor defending, he did a perfect punch on the side of the head to release his jaw, the hand was right in, and the choke was on," Gracie explained. "It was a brilliant fight for Nate and I'm glad that it happened to Nate. It couldn't have happened to a better guy. Him and his brother are unbelievable human beings."
Even though Gracie wouldn't necessarily advise a fighter not to tap out, he says it's an "unwritten" rule and it's a personal choice fighters have to make.
"You choose how you want people to be remember you," Gracie said.