Josh Emmett describes feeling of ‘brutal knockout’ of Bryce Mitchell, responds to criticism for his celebration

Josh Emmett knew from the moment he landed his thunderous punch on Bryce Mitchell at UFC 296 that the fight was already over.

It was arguably the most memorable moment from the final UFC pay-per-view of the year when Emmett uncorked a hellacious right hand that crumbled Mitchell and sent him in a heap down to the canvas. Replays minus the commentary revealed the sickening thud when Emmett’s fist connected on Mitchell’s jaw, which he equates to a home run in baseball or a moonshot on the golf course.

“When I did connect, it’s like if you’ve ever played baseball or you golf, you just swing perfect,” Emmett described Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “It’s effortless. You know the golf ball or the baseball’s going out of the park. That’s exactly what happened.

“I hit him so hard and flush and clean, I could just feel it in my hand, and I saw him falling face-down and that was enough. I was not going to follow up with any unnecessary punches. I’ve done this several times. It’s so much sweeter with a walk-off KO.”

A split second after the knockout landed, Emmett began his celebration as medical personnel rushed into the cage to check on Mitchell. Not only did Mitchell stay down for several moments, but it appeared that he was convulsing as his entire body started twitching after he was leveled with the punch.

Emmett admits it was a terrifying moment after he realized what was happening to Mitchell.

“I personally haven’t [seen that before],” Emmett said. “I don’t know if he was having a seizure or what it was. It all worked out in the end.

“I was just wishing him the best. When I saw that, I was like, ‘Damn, that’s bad.’ Because it was a brutal, brutal knockout, and all I could do was wish him the best and pray he was going to be OK, and he came back to shortly after.”

Before he realized what was happening, Emmett let out a roar of emotion following his knockout and he celebrated his handiwork in the cage. Once he saw Mitchell down on the canvas receiving attention from the cageside physician, Emmett dropped to his knees to keep a close eye on his opponent until he regained consciousness.

Despite the concern he showed, Emmett says he still faced criticism online for his immediate celebration, which was really just an outpouring of emotion for a huge knockout win after suffering back-to-back losses to start 2023.

“I think it’s like, I can’t win,” Emmett said. “I did get quite a bit of stuff. Because I was saying it’s hard to celebrate when I see someone in that position, but everything is moving so fast. Fighters understand this because we’re going in there, we’re fighting for our life, our livelihood, anything can happen and it’s like these raw emotions. I did what I was supposed to do. I want to have the biggest knockouts, I want to be excited. I went in there and delivered and I was excited. I let it all out.

“By the time I looked back and I see what he’s going through, I take a knee and wish him all the best. He’s doing well. I’m happy for the outcome. As soon as we get in the octagon, we’re both trying to do the same thing, so I’m going to do that every single time I step foot in the octagon.”

Of course, Mitchell showed no ill will towards Emmett and actually released a video praising the Team Alpha Male fighter for not following up with another punch after he was already knocked out.

Emmett had nothing but kind words to say about Mitchell as well, although it appears The Ultimate Fighter veteran didn’t actually remember anything about the knockout until after he saw the replay on how it all transpired.

“He said he came back to, when he was in the ambulance going to the hospital,” Emmett revealed. “He doesn’t remember anything. It’s a scary thing to have happen to you. But the guy is already back working in Arkansas, he’s already back building his barn. He’s a one of a kind and he’s a genuine good person.

“We’re all trying to achieve the same thing so I wish no harm on my opponents. I hope we all go home to our friends and families with no injuries. It was a little tough because I wanted to make sure he was OK. He got cleared, it was a few fights after us, he was OK. I heard through someone with the UFC staff, I just asked. Everything was OK and we went on to have a good night with our team and our friends and family and everyone who made it out to Vegas.”

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