I’ve been thinking about the lasting effects of taking a big KO. Now I’m not talking about medical conditions like post concussion syndrome (more on that later). I’m talking about the mental aspect of being knocked out. We’ve all heard how when you fall off a horse, you have to get right back on so you do not develop any fear. When you’ve been KO’d in a fight, its a much longer process before you can get “back on the horse” so to speak. Could that time off be pretty detrimental to the KO’d fighter? Let me explain.
Many people are saying how Wanderlei Silva didn’t look himself and fought completely differently than he normally does. Now I understand he may have been a bit sick (strep throat), but his interview on Sherdog was revealing. He talked about how he wanted to feel out Henderson in the first couple of rounds and see what he had. He said he wanted “see the fight in the 1st” and feel Dan’s power. He went on to say he figured he’d get the KO in the 4th or 5th round! Since when does the Axe Murderer take his time feeling out an opponent. His murderous aggression is famous and he barely gave opponents time to breath, much less feel them out. Now we must remember Silva’s last fight was a devastating KO from CroCop. Did that KO make Wanderlei a little more hesitant and defensive, as witnessed by his backing up during the fight with Hendo, something almost never seen before?
Rampage Jackson was an absolute monster. Until he met Wanderlei Silva that is. Since that devastating KO by Silva in their second fight, Rampage has not nearly been as aggressive as in the past. Three decision wins including the disputed one with Lindland, a KO loss to Shogun, a TKO of an overmatched Yokai, and a rather lackluster win (by his own words) over Eastman. Is he still tentative over taking a big shot? That is also why I might favor Liddell over Rampage at this point, regardless of the previous fight. But thats a thought for another day.
You could almost put Mike Tyson in this category. The KO loss to Buster Douglas was a devastating punch. Have we ever seen the sheer aggression of old Mike Tyson since that punch? I’ve seen every one of his fights, and to me the answer is no. Now I’m not saying that’s why Mike became such a clown/freak, but that KO might explain the tremendous drop in aggression, one of Tyson’s most effective tools in his youth.
Let’s go to hockey, a sport that also features some great fighters. Take a guy like Todd Fedoruk. Todd was the quintessential enforcer, always sticking up for his teammates. Then Todd suffered a devastating TKO and resulting broken orbital bone at the hands of Derek Boorgaard. Since returning to the lineup and fully cleared, Fedoruk has not been nearly the same enforcer, nevermind fighter. He stays very tight and is unwilling to open up as was his style prior to the KO. There are numerous other hockey players who I could point to as examples, but the point is made.
By the way, a small blurb on concussions. One of the things that helps make them so frustrating is a permanent side effect. After each concussion, even with a ful recovery, it becomes easier and easier to get concussed/KO’d again. In other words, once a guy gets KO’d he will never have quite the same chin as he once did. This may have also lead to Silva’s startling KO loss. I’m not saying Henderson does not hit like a truck, just adding to the thoughts.
Of course not all fighters who suffer a KO may have this happen to them, but there are a great number of examples if one looks back.