The Bellator 292 event held on March 11th, 2023, was a night of intense fights and high emotions. However, one fight in particular left fans and fighters alike shaken - the bout between Goiti Yamauchi and Michael Page.
At the very start of the 1st round of their fight, Yamauchi suffered a gruesome injury that forced him to retire from the fight. After landing a kick to Page's leg, Yamauchi stumbled back and collapsed in pain, clutching his knee. As the referee noticed Yamauchi was motionless, he intervened and declared the fight over. That was a powerful and heartbreaking conclusion.
The injury was a devastating blow to Yamauchi, who was forced to watch from the sidelines as Page celebrated his victory. For Page, the win was bittersweet, as he had hoped for a fair fight and didn't want to see his opponent injured.
“It’s hard to even celebrate when he’s right there,” Page said. “I’m actually a fan of him and his work. It was a pleasure to grace the cage with him, but I really do wish him a speedy recovery.”
At the Bellator 292 post-fight news conference, Bellator President Scott Coker verified what Yamauchi's manager had informed him: that preliminary testing indicated the knee was in poor condition.
“Based on the x-ray, it’s a patella tendon rupture,” Coker said. “So that sounds very painful.”
Yamauchi, a 10-year Bellator professional, currently owns the milestone for the promotion's number of submissions (9) accomplished. He had just defeated strong contender Neiman Gracie in a distinguished knockout as he joined Bellator 292. The Brazilian welterweight's loss to Page ended a three-fight unbeaten run that had brought him extremely close to championship contention.
With the win, Page completed an effective MMA comeback. His last match took place in August under the BKFC brand. He was defeated by Mike Perry in unanimous consent. Before that, Page was defeated by Logan Storley for the Bellator interim welterweight championship by a split decision. The defeat against Storley ended "MVP's" six-fight winning streak.
Page didn't waste any time just after the fight in demanding a championship chance immediately against Yaroslav Amosov, the unbeaten Bellator welterweight champion.
Yamauchi's injury was a stark reminder of the risks involved in combat sports. MMA fighters put their bodies on the line every time they step into the octagon, and injuries like Yamauchi's are a reminder of the sacrifices they make for the sport.