Quite a way to get started.
“I was hoping to hurt him,” Leavitt told reporters after his highlight-reel win that opened the main card of Saturday’s event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. “You don’t put your forearm across someone’s neck unless you’re trying to hurt somebody.
“Was I expecting the knockout? No. But it’s a nice little perk of the action. It was crazy.”
It’s not the first time Leavitt has tried the move. Usually, though, training partners or opponents try to avoid it. No one wants to have their head driven into the mat at a high rate of speed.
Just to make sure Wiman couldn’t escape, Leavitt used his forearm to frame and trap his opponent’s head so the full force of the move was actualized.
“If you slam somebody, they can turn like a cat and predict where they fall,” he said. “Me grabbing onto him and slamming him allows me to hold on, allows me to know exactly where his head is going to bounce, or not bounce.”
It was a scary moment for the audience and Leavitt, who was seen on camera offering his respect to Wiman’s wife and corner. He gave Wiman space to recover after the knockout, which left the UFC veteran on the canvas for several tense moments.
No part of the move was illegal, but Leavitt saw an opportunity after Wiman left open a takedown opportunity and then pulled guard. Unable to decide whether to put his feet on the canvas or hold on, Wiman chose the latter and paid dearly.
UFC President Dana White later said Wiman had been checked out and is not seriously injured.
“It was a very weird sound in there tonight when he hit,” he said. “I’m glad he’s OK. That was nasty.”
Leavitt went from fighting back the urge to talk to Wiman, whom he watched as a teenager, to feeling bad for the damage wrought – and also excited for the result.
To punctuate his big win, Leavitt imitated the show-stopping move in “Dirty Dancing” – twice. Nothing stays serious long with “The Monkey King.”
“We tried it a few times,” he said. “There was a few fails, a few almost-broken necks. I was not going to fail at my action.”
As for when he wants to get into action next, Leavitt hopes it happens very soon or after February. His wife is currently pregnant, and a trip to Fight Island next month might lead him to miss the birth of their child.
“You never live that down,” he said.
Below is Leavitt’s interview, courtesy of MMA Junkie.