Bryce Mitchell isn’t letting one of the most brutal knockout losses of the year bring him down.
The featherweight contender left viewers watching UFC 296 aghast after he was knocked out cold by Josh Emmett to open Saturday’s main card. Mitchell remained on the canvas for several seconds after absorbing a monster right hand from Emmett and at one point went into convulsions. He eventually stood and was able to exit the octagon on his feet.
Later in the evening, Mitchell released a video statement on social media to let everyone know that he’s OK.
“I want to let everybody know that I’m OK,” Mitchell said. “I want to thank you all so much for watching and I’ve just been so blessed this weekend. I cannot complain about anything and really where I messed up is a poor strategy.
“So my strategy was stick to the jab, make my reads, work my feet, kind of sit on the outside, but that put me to where I’m not putting that forward pressure that I really like to put and it also made me look timid. That’s not how I fight. I fight very aggressive and so I encourage anybody who’s got a fight in their life—not just a fistfight, I’m talking about any type of fight, be aggressive and attack it. Because at least if you go down and you lose that battle, you’re going to know you fought and you went head on towards it. So just a bad strategy by me tonight.”
Mitchell, known for his aggressive grappling style, had little time to show what he could do as he was caught by Emmett’s finishing fist less than two minutes into the opening round. It was the first knockout loss of Mitchell’s career.
Not helping Mitchell was the fact that he accepted the UFC 296 booking on just 10 days’ notice after Emmett’s originally scheduled opponent Giga Chikadze withdrew due to a groin injury. That left Mitchell with little time to prepare for the hard-hitting Emmett.
“Gosh, Josh hits hard and he’s so low to the ground when he hits that overhand right, it’s hard to hit him with anything,” Mitchell said. “What can I say? I could have done better, but I obviously didn’t.
“I’m so lucky to live the life that I live. I have a wife because of this sport. Me and my wife would have never met if it wasn’t for this sport. I have a kid coming because of this sport. I have a house because of this sport. I have a farm because of this sport. I wouldn’t trade it for nothing and there’s nothing that’s going to get me down. I refuse to let negativity control me and I just wanted to tell you all that I love you.”
Mitchell has now lost two of his past three fights after starting his pro career with 15 straight pro, including a win over Edson Barboza that propelled him up the rankings. Though his latest loss is undoubtedly the most devastating, the Arkansas native is keeping things in perspective.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Mitchell said. “When I was in that hospital, I was getting rolled by people with no legs, no arms, faces all messed up, face turned sideways like the dude got in a car wreck, so I cannot complain about anything. I’m so happy to be here and I’m healthy and I love you all and I thank you.”