Mixed Martial Arts is a sport that is known for its intensity and brutal nature. However, some actions are considered unsportsmanlike, even in the world of MMA. One such action is hitting an opponent below the belt. This is something that happened in the recent fight between John Lineker and Fabricio Andrade, and Lineker is already preparing for the rematch for the vacant bantamweight title.
Although the first clash between both the rivals more than lived up to the expectations it had generated, it also came to an extremely depressing conclusion. Andrade landed a low blow on Lineker, which led to a stoppage in the fight. Lineker was clearly in pain and could not continue his fight and it resulted in a no-contest.
On this week's Trocaço Franca podcast, Andrade stated that he was "astonished" that his fellow Brazilian had consented to rematch following the first fight for the bantamweight title concluded as a no-contest because of an unintentional cheap shot.
Lineker quips about his only worry this time is to safeguard his groin in a quick chat with Trocaço Franca.
“He’s a talented guy, a tough one, so I have to work hard,” Lineker said. “I’ll predict a third-round finish again. And don’t hit me in the nutsack again, Fabricio [laughs].”
Many fans were unhappy with Andrade's actions. The strike was that much powerful that it shattered Lineker’s protective cup. However, Lineker seems to be taking a different approach to the rematch. To prevent similar occurrences in the future, Lineker took the proactive step of obtaining a more durable cup before the world title rematch. John Lineker stated in a South China Morning Post interview:
“Yes, I bought a steel cup so that won’t happen again.”
The lucrative zeroes in Lineker and Andrade's promotional win-loss statistics are now in jeopardy because their first fight resulted in a no-contest. Lineker has three knockouts and a perfect record of 4-0 in the ONE Championship. Andrade, in contrast, has a record of 5-0 with three knockouts and one victory via submission.
Ultimately, MMA is a sport that is built on toughness and resilience. Fighters are expected to be able to take a certain amount of punishment, but there are limits to what is acceptable. Low blows are not something that fans or opponents want to see, and Lineker's decision to wear a steel cup may be seen as an attempt to skirt the rules.