Bryce Mitchell thanks Josh Emmett: Follow-up shots ‘probably would have killed me,’ Emmett responds

UFC featherweight Bryce Mitchell is back home recovering from a severe concussion he suffered at UFC 296.

But even as bad as it was getting knocked unconscious by Josh Emmett, he knows things could have been much worse.

“I want to let you all know that I am so happy with Josh Emmett,” Mitchell said in a video posted Monday to his Instagram page. “Right after he knocked me out, he could have followed up with hammerfists, and it probably would have killed me. He didn’t even follow up with anything.

“He was just happy with his knockout, and he walked away. And I’m so gracious for that, I will forever remember that. Thank you for not hitting me extra, Josh.”

Mitchell immediately collapsed upon taking a right hand from Emmett early in the UFC 296 fight, which was bumped to the pay-per-view opener after Ian Machado Garry’s illness forced the promotion to scrap a bout with Vicente Luque.

Reached for comment, Emmett said his experience guided him in not throwing any follow-up shots.

“I’d done this several times,” he told MMA Fighting. “I know they’re out. I saw Bryce go face down, I knew he was out. I had a little celebration, but I was not going to hit him because, it was unnecessary. I know a lot of fighters say you need to keep hitting them until the ref pulls you off, but I feel like when you hit them as hard as I do, there’s no need for it. That was already a brutal knockout, and Bryce is such a good guy, it’s tough when you have to do that do somebody.

“[Referee] Herb [Dean] was way behind me. I could have hit him with several big shots on the ground, but there’s no need. At the end of the day, I want everyone to go home as safe as possible to their loved ones.”

Mitchell, who took the bout on short notice after Emmett’s originally scheduled opponent, Giga Chikadze, withdrew from the fight due to injury, began to seize as he lay on the octagon canvas. Medical professionals from the Nevada Athletic Commission immediately tended to him, and UFC commentator Joe Rogan worried aloud that Mitchell was walking too soon after the knockout. Eventually, Mitchell was able to walk out of the octagon with assistance from his teammates.

In the wake of such a severe knockout, Mitchell is likely to face a medical suspension of at least 60 days. He was immediately taken to an area hospital to for a precautionary CT scan of his head and then released. He subsequently released a video statement telling fans he was OK and conceding a strategic mistake in the fight.

“That’s not how I fight,” he said. “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.”

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