On Saturday night at UFC 262, Edson Barboza and Shane Burgos were having a sensational fight when, in the third round, something bizarre happened. After walking through Barboza’s barrage of offense all fight without issue, Burgos ate another big right hand and once again seemed to shake it off. “Seemed” is the operative word there though because a full three seconds after the shot landed, Burgos’ legs suddenly gave out on him, sending him reeling backwards where Barboza followed up and finished the fight. The sheer length of time between the shot landing and Burgos going down was highly unusual leaving the UFC commentary team to speculate that Burgos was simply too tough for his own body, leading to the delayed reaction, and it turns out, that is likely true.
Dr. David Abbasi is a ringside physician and orthopedic surgeon who breaks down sports injuries on his YouTube channel, and following the fights on Saturday night, Dr. Abbasi posted a video explaining how KOs normally work from a physiological standpoint and why this one was so strange.
“First of all, anything that involves the brain is going to be complicated...,” Dr. Abbasi said. “The brain is enclosed within the skull and is surrounded by a layer of protective fluid called cerebrospinal fluid which basically acts to cushion and protect the brain when the head is shook so the brain is not swashing around on the inside of the head. Now with a knockout type blow like the one we saw Edson Barboza deliver, what can happen is that any sudden movements of the skull can cause the brain to knock around on the inside of the skull. When that happens you get a dump of increased electrical activity and imbalances of the electrical activity can sometimes cause what we consider a knockout, or basically shut down of the central nervous system and the body.
“In this specific instance, we see a delayed reaction of that. Being a ringside physician me and my colleagues at these events with boxing and mixed martial arts, what we think happens is basically a clash of a person’s will power versus scientific ability to continue a fight. Almost like if you were to imagine someone at the end of a triathlon you see those people try to run or crawl across the finish line but their body physically cannot do it. I think there’s a component of that that we can consider was happening.”
According to the good doctor though, it wasn’t just Burgos’ toughness that led to the delayed reaction, it also could have been Burgos himself. After eating the shot from Barboza, Burgos kept right on going with his bouncing head movement and Dr. Abbasi thinks that too may have contributed to the outcome.
“After he gets hit by the punch by Edson Barboza, at first he acts normally and actually we see him do his normal type of head movement back and forth which in my opinion probably made things worse because his brain was probably on the verge of electrical activity where it was going to shut down or have a knockout but it was just on that border,” Dr. Abbasi said. “I think the addition of that head movement certainly did not help things and could have increased the severity of that blow that Edson Barboza delivered. But I think that scientifically, probably what’s going on it was probably an intersection of extremely tough will power meeting the scientific verge of a knockout with the abnormal electrical activity. I think the increased or continuation of his movement put him over the edge in terms of what his brain and central nervous system was able to handle and I think as he was realizing what was going on his body was giving him that message. ‘Listen, something is very nor right and something is very wrong,’ and that’s what caused him to go down on the ground and have that delayed knockout reaction.
“Anything that involves the brain is always going to be complex but that’s our best ability of what we think is going on. So that would be my best explanation for what happened.”
Though the delayed reaction made the KO both odd and a little scary, Burgos is fine, or at least, as fine as one can be given the circumstances. Speaking briefly with MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck, Burgos announced that he is okay and essentially corroborated Dr. Abbasi’s assessment that his body simply turned off on him.
“I remember everything it was just a weird feeling that shut my legs off slowly. I’m 100% safe, healthy, coherent and remember it all.”
Burgos also posted to Instagram shortly afterwards with a statement on his health and lots of respect for Barboza.
Though losing is never easy, especially in such strange circumstances, Burgos can perhaps take solace in all the extra money his toughness earned him as his fight with Barboza earned Fight of the Night honors and an additional $75,000.
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UFC 262 Post Show.
UFC 262 Post-Fight Press Conference.
UFC 263 trailer.
My man also talked about Jacare’s arm.
Gamebred back in the gym.
On To The Next One. Matches to make following UFC 262.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
What say? Hard work paid off. A dream came true. Now I'm UFC lightweight champ. Thank you to my fans for all the support. You're special.— Charles Oliveira (@CharlesDoBronxs) May 16, 2021
O que dizer? Meu esforço valeu a pena. O sonho se tornou realidade, me tornei campeão leve do UFC. Fãs, obrigado pelo apoio. #AFavelaVenceu
Congrats to Olivera on becoming the 11th UFC lightweight champion.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 16, 2021
Wonder who Twelve is...
I guess the call out worked.
Too tough for their own good.
UFC 262 -CSO- # I Won’t Tap # One. Day Of Reflection ✝️ pic.twitter.com/c2v5Sq8fmP— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) May 17, 2021
You are my hero! My inspiration! My example! Love you so much my dear sister ! Always will be by your side , same as you always doing it for me ! ❤️❤️❤️— Valentina Shevchenko (@BulletValentina) May 16, 2021
Last American born UFC Champ #FirstGeneration Jamaican. I will defend this title come November! Take out Dillashaw/Sandhagen, then wreck that weasel Cejudo! ☝— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) May 16, 2021
Go back to your room and study the rules, you simpleton https://t.co/PJpNPsktSk— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) May 16, 2021
Will this be your first meeting w/attorneys where you/they aren't separated by 2-inch-thick Plexiglass? https://t.co/EU8y2oKSTh— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) May 16, 2021
I'm pretty sure there's some— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) May 16, 2021
Under there somewhere pic.twitter.com/NkpHmeWnId
Dear (FLESH and) BONES:— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) May 16, 2021
You're a Heavyweight
INDIANA Jones couldn't excavate deep enough to find any "Bones" in that— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) May 17, 2021
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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