Ever since Rocky II, when Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed plummeted to the canvas simultaneously late in the 15th round, the double knockdown has flourished as a dramatic rarity. In that fight, which hinged on a mad scramble to see who could gather their wits quickest, it was Rocky that managed to get up first. That follow-up clash with Creed remains his second most memorable victory, behind only his improbable handling of Ivan Drago on Christmas Day in Cold War Russia.
In Ramon Dekkers’ famous nonfiction fight with Rayen Simpson in Roosendaal, in which both guys whiffed with rights to synchronize connecting lefts, it was Simpson who ultimately recovered his bearings enough to pull out a victory. Even in defeat, that fight makes up part of the late Dekkers’ legacy. The same goes for Holland’s Simpson.
It happened again in late-May in Pattaya, Thailand, this time when Dorian Price and the Frenchman Jonathan Lecat connected at the same time during a Muay Thai fight, ending with both collapsing in a heap of their own violence. In the age of social media, the video went viral. There was Lecat watching the swirl of lights above as his trainers tried to bring him back to consciousness. And there was Price — Simpson’s protégé! — somehow managing to stand back up. Then he was trying to make sense of what happened after he did.
You could see it — that precise moment it dawned on Price that it wasn’t him laying on the canvas, but the other guy. That’s when he spontaneously began to celebrate whatever it was that had just happened.
So what’s it like to lose consciousness at the exact same moment that you take somebody else’s?
“I didn’t know what happened at first,” Price says. “Obviously, I knew I got hit with something. I got up, and it wasn’t until I looked in my corner that I saw what happened. Then I looked at one of my teammates, Luke Bar from Wales, and he was screaming and he had his hands up. I looked at him and said, ‘Oh shit, I think might’ve won this thing.’
“For a second I didn’t know what the hell was happening. I just knew I was standing.”
Price, who was a castmate on The Ultimate Fighter 6 back in the day and fought 13 times professionally in MMA between 2002-2012, has been living in Thailand for the last nine-plus years. He has been a Thai boxing practitioner since 1998. A native of Baltimore, he returns to the States only when called upon to help train his longtime friend, Matt Brown, before a fight. He has assisted others, too. He was brought in by Marcus Marinelli to help strengthen Stipe Miocic’s clinch game when Miocic was getting ready to fight for the heavyweight title against Fabricio Werdum.
Price’s imprint is all over MMA. And now the footage of him and Lecat knocking each other out at the same time will keep his name warm in the Muay Thai sphere for years to come.
“When it happened, [Lecat] hit me with the left elbow, and I remember saying, ‘shit, that hurt,’” Price says, reflecting on the sequence. “And as he went to turn the corner to pivot, I turned too, and we both went to post — which is a Thai boxing term. I tried to post on his right arm and he tried to post on mine as well. We both happened to miss, and by posting you stop your shoulder, so it kind of eliminates the power from it and kind of jams him up, and then you’re able to get your results.
“If you watch the video we both went to post, but we both happened to miss each other’s shoulders in our posts and we both landed the same weapon from the right side. His being an elbow, mine being a punch.”
The elbow that Lecat lands is vicious and in such close range it’s hard to believe Price got back up.
“I was out, at least a flash knockdown,” he says. “I wouldn’t go down for the sake of going down. It was definitely a solid right elbow. I would say I was out for a second, but I have a pretty decent chin and a good power for recovery.”
To make matters crazier, Price deduced that he had landed the right (without knowing for sure). That’s because he was fighting with one hand against Lecat. His left was still broken from a previous Muay Thai fight, because he peeled off the cast too soon and it hadn’t had time to properly healed. That broken arm also hindered him from potentially making a return to the UFC via the TUF 25 tryouts, which was an opportunity that was presented to him.
It wasn’t the broken arm that kept him away. It was four words he attaches to the art of eight limbs: “I love Muay Thai.” Price loves the crazy, often merciless world of Thai fights.
The particular bout was a Sunday night Max Muay Thai feature, which is a popular telecast show in the Thailand. Price’s gym, Kaisansuk, is sponsored by Max Muay Thai, which has landed Price in that specific theater. The rules at Max are a little different than you’d find at other stadiums in Bangkok.
“Typically Thai fights are five rounds,” Price says. “But Max has a format where they want you to push the action. They actually take points when you’re going backwards. [Lecat] came out guns blazing, so my thing was, hey, he wants a shootout, and I’m more than happy to accommodate him. I mean, I wasn’t going to shy away from that.”
Since Price moved to Thailand to primarily focus on Thai boxing, he has lived not only far from his American roots, but far from the technological advances over the last decade. He said he only recently upgraded from his cell phone that “if dropped would break the concrete.” As for the Internet, it’s not something he overly dabbled with.
In fact, it’s possible that Price didn’t return home earlier this month to do some seminars and buy some time for his broken left arm heal, he wouldn’t even know that his double-KO with Lecat was a big deal. When people told him that the video had gone viral, he assumed it was somehow infected.
“I’m not really a social media or an Internet kind of guy,” he says. “At the gym I’m at, we don’t even have internet or WiFi. They had mentioned it, and they were using terms like ‘you broke the internet.’ I’m a little old school, so I had no idea what that means. I was like, well shit, how is someone going to break the Internet? And they were like, no man, it’s viral, and I thought that was some kind of disease or something. Viral. I was like damn, that don’t sound good. I had no idea.”
The double-KO victory over Lecat was a cymbal crash to a weekend that sounds almost absurd by today’s standards, but in which Price himself refers to as “normal.” He was expected to fight a Thai fighter Smingdam on Friday night, yet that fight fell through. He was told on Wednesday night he would fight on the card anyway, but the fight would be at 74 kilograms (163 pounds), meaning he wouldn’t need to cut a ton of weight.
Later that night, after eating free of dietary restrictions, he was told he’d face Lecat on Sunday, and that meant getting down to 72 kilograms (158 pounds).
“So I put on the sauna suit, and started running with a buddy [Luke Bar] who followed along on a scooter,” he says. “It was the hottest two days to run with a sauna suit in Thailand, and I passed out twice during the weight cut. My buddy on the scooter would find me passed out.”
He says this with complete aplomb, adding lightly, “It was pretty funny, and it was just an experience.” With Price, it’s hard to tell the difference between going through hell or checking into a four-star hotel.
Once he was on weight he began daydreaming. Max Muay Thai has incentives in place in the form of a bonus structure. There’s a super-bonus, which is 10,000 baht ($296 USD). A regular bonus, which is 5,000 baht ($148 USD). A knockout bonus (also 5,000 baht). And the ominous sounding “stitch bonus,” which is the one that struck Price’s fancy.
“I was really disappointed I didn’t get the stitch bonus,” he says. “That was the whole excitement for me fighting at Max. Max gives you a stitch bonus, so for every stitch that you can give them, you get 500 baht ($15 per stitch). And every stitch you get, you receive a little money, too.
“They said the record was 38 stitches. I’ve given 35 [stitches] in one of my other fights, so I was really excited about breaking that record for the stitch bonus…but Lecat came out throwing elbows, so I guess he wanted that stitch bonus too. He didn’t get it though. I didn’t want anybody to get that bonus off of my blood.”
In the end, going through an opponent switch, cutting the weight and fighting through a broken arm, knocking out Lecat while getting temporarily knocked out himself, and finding himself the star of a viral video, netted Price, by his own estimation, “around $500.”
“I felt rich for about a week and a half,” he laughs. “I made 12,000 baht for the fight, but the big boss takes half of that. He didn’t take anything from the bonus, which was cool. I tipped my trainer 2,000 baht, and gave the Thai kids who followed me on the scooter 500 baht. But all of that’s normal.”
Yet Price himself worked out a deal with the “big boss” at Max, drawing up his own incentives going in.
“They had these Max jackets, I said if I get a knockout I want a jacket,” he says. “And then after the fight I remember going back to the gym, and I said to my buddy, technically that was a knockout. He was like, ‘Hell yeah that’s a knockout! You got up, and he still unconscious.’ So I said I want my jacket. But instead of the jacket I switched and got a pair of shorts and a pair of gloves. They honored it. They were used gloves from the gym, but it was pretty cool.”
The next time somebody complains about the Reebok tier structure in the UFC, remember Dorian Price out there in Thailand, trying to cut people open with his elbows to get a stitch bonus.
And his fight with Lecat is one that will stick with him a long time. He says it’s probably the craziest sequence he’s ever been involved with — and one that even raised the eyebrow of the “big boss.”
“Yeah, it’s rare,” he says. “Even in Muay Thai, they aren’t impressed by nothing because they’ve seen it all. But the big boss at the gym and the promoters were so excited. With them being impressed I thought, this is pretty cool.”
The 39-year-old Price was happy to learn that breaking the Internet didn’t mean it was actually broken, and that his video from far-off Pattaya going viral didn’t anything was infected. Yet even if the Lecat fight became most visible of his life, he was mostly glad to make those around him smile.
“I was just happy I made my trainers proud,” he says. “I’ve spent nine years of my life in Thailand, and for the people around me, they were proud about the fight. And that’s all I cared about.”