One of the most active fighters in MMA history, Travis Fulton, entered the cage for the 411th time Saturday night to face 99-fight veteran Johnathan Ivey in the main event of Colosseum Combat 45 in Kokomo, Indiana, and the fight video went viral.
Ivey made headlines around the MMA world after apparently faking an injury — or was it a heart attack? — and then rushing forward and dropping Fulton, landing heavy shots on the ground. But, all of a sudden, Ivey decided to stop punching, stood back up and tapped out, giving Fulton the TKO victory when Ivey was seconds away from beating the fellow veteran.
So to recap.. Johnathan Ivey fakes a heart attack, drops Travis Fulton, proceeds to follow up with GNP... then decides he can't punch his idol in the face anymore and taps out. #mmathings pic.twitter.com/grK54YhOe0— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) July 1, 2018
Days after the bizarre video went viral, Ivey opened up about why he chose to just walk away and lose.
"It’s kind of complicated,” Ivey told MMA Fighting. “When I turned pro on the undercard of a Hook’n’Shoot event years ago, Travis Fulton was the main event that night. I looked up to him throughout my career and tried to emulate his career as much as I could. Years ago, I tattooed a portrait of him on my leg sleeve, that I was dedicating to the men in the sport that I looked up to.
"I was supposed to defend this heavyweight title in February but UFC vet after UFC vet would agree to the fight and then drop out. So then it was agreed upon that Fulton would be the opponent and I was excited. I would get to fight the guy I looked up to from the beginning.
”The first couple minutes was Travis and I just exchanging punches and kicks. Then I caught him with a left hook that hurt him and put him down with a right hand. Once he went down I followed him to the ground and threw some hard shots. The second one I threw his eyes rolled back in his head. I told the ref Travis was done and to stop it but he didn’t. I threw some more punches and Travis came back a little bit. He was still defenseless, but he was able to bring his legs up, so I put my knee on his head and just threw short shots.
”He wasn’t moving and his head was trapped. His legs were up but he was defenseless. I threw a couple more punches and begged the ref to stop it. The ref wouldn’t. So I stood up and backed away and bent over to tap the mat. Yes, I wanted to fight Travis, but I didn’t want to punch him after his eyes rolled back and he was defenseless. I was never the fighter Travis was and I never will be. He’s the reason I made the decisions I did during my career. I wasn’t going to keep punching him when the fight should have been over.”
A 41-year-old veteran with appearances under the UFC, IFL, King of the Cage, Pancrase, and ProElite banners throughout his 22-year professional career, Fulton was declared the winner after the bizarre scene.
They met after the fight, Ivey said, and, ”Travis came to my dressing room and told me he was out of it and couldn’t remember what happened or leaving the cage. We talked about the old days a little bit and took some pictures and he told me he was going to retire now.”
Ivey, who walked out like Rocky Balboa for this main event, doesn’t regret accepting the fight after essentially hurting his role model in the cage.
“I loved getting to fight my idol. I just regret the ref didn’t stop the fight when it should have been stopped,” Ivey said. “I signed up to fight Travis, I didn’t sign up to hit him repeatedly after his eyes rolled back and he was laying there defenseless. If it would have been some dude I never heard of I may have kept punching, but Travis didn’t deserve that.”
I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO THIS MUSIC Facebook!!! Whether or not if you agree with my decision to stop punching my opponent in my last fight, you CAN'T disagree that my ring entrances have always been the best :) Last night we had Matt Mattyo Oliverio as "Paulie" , Chance Richardson as "Mickey" , and myself as "Rocky". #JustHavingFun #WeHaveNoSense :)Posted by Johnathan Ivey on Sunday, July 1, 2018
As for the moment he faked an injury before attacking and dropping Fulton, Ivey explained that he has done that a few times before.
”I’ve seen people saying I faked a heart attack… that is ridiculous,” he said. “Those people have clearly never seen me fight. I’m always doing funny stuff while I fight. Travis had just kicked me and it made a loud smack, so I was just playing around like it hurt.”
Ivey will now shift his focus to the upcoming fight card he’s promoting in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on July 14, and then will book his 99th fight.
On his social media, Travis Fulton released a long statement on everything that happened before, during and after his fight with Ivey.