Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Uriah Hall not quite comfortable in aftermath of devastating 'Ultimate Fighter' victory
In the immediate aftermath of arguably the most violent televised knockout in combat sports history, Uriah Hall's overriding emotion was fear.
He was fearful he may have killed Adam Cella with the spinning back kick knockout that was broadcast Tuesday on FX on Episode 3 of Season 17 of the reality series "The Ultimate Fighter."
He was fearful, at least for a moment, that the violence he had unleashed upon Cella would get him arrested.
The celebration that usually accompanies a big knockout on an episode of TUF was noticeably absent. Jaws dropped around the gym as fighters and observers feared for Cella's well-being.
It was a phenomenally vicious knockout. According to a tweet by UFC president Dana White, Cella was out for four minutes, didn't sit on the stool until six minutes after the kick that landed on the side of his face and didn't get into the ambulance to go to the hospital until nine minutes later.
FX teased the knockout for a week, referring to it as "the most shocking finish in TUF history."
Hall, who was a member of Team Sonnen, noticed that Cella was keeping his right hand low. He made a mental note of that during the fast-paced fight and when it happened again, he reacted.
"That's my favorite technique," Hall said of the kick. "... It's a little bit of an unorthodox move. If you have good speed and good whip, you can catch someone, and it's really deadly. I love to use that technique, and just from being in the ring with him, I'd seen how he would drop his hand a little bit.
"I had the chance and I capitalized on it and I took it."
Hall said that after landing the kick, his foot hurt for a week. Remarkably, Cella suffered no serious injury from the violent knockout and is expected to compete on the TUF 17 Finale in Las Vegas in April.
The UFC had promoted Tuesday's show heavily, which led to a somewhat uncomfortable day for Hall. He watched the episode in a bar with some of his friends, but once the knockout aired, his phone rang off the hook and he was getting swarmed.
He finally ducked into a bathroom to avoid the well-wishers and turned his phone off.
"I'm just not used to that [attention]," Hall said. "I had to duck some people. I had to go into the bathroom and just wait there. One of my friends came in and said, 'Hey, they all left. You can come out.' Overall, it's been a great experience and I'm loving it, but I still have to get used to this."
Hall has sent each of his first two opponents to the hospital. In the qualifying round in order to make the final 16, Hall won a unanimous decision over Andy Enz. However, he broke Enz's arm with a kick during the bout.
His problem going into the show, he said, was that he got so nervous that he wasted a great deal of energy stressing out about his fights. He said that UFC contender Chael Sonnen, who was his coach, helped immensely with that.
"My time on the show made me a hell of a lot better fighter and it revolves around the one thing I'd been having constant trouble with," Hall said. "The fear of letting go and the fear of emotions getting the best of you. All it took was Chael getting inside my head and teaching me how to handle that.
"He was a great mentor and coach and I thank him for that. As an athlete, you sometimes put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You want to perform so badly for that crowd, or you worry too much about what others think of you. You don't want to lose. That was always my biggest concern. I didn't want to lose. I put too much pressure on myself and it caused me not to perform."
Sonnen got through to Hall in a way that others have not.
Guys like Cella are, sadly for them, the ones paying the price.