Please take a seat and give me 45 seconds of your undivided attention. X out of the all other links and don’t blink or you’ll have no idea how MMA fighter Drew Chatman went from being in a world of trouble to front-flipping over Irvins Ayala’s body.
Check out the end to the heavyweight bout at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa last Friday. This fight marked both fighter’s professional debut.
It took me a few views to understand exactly what went on here. Chatman threw a sweeping kick that Ayala caught, sending his opponent to the mat and setting up prime position to tee off on him. Except in the process, Ayala knocked himself out by drilling his head on Chatman’s knee on the way down.
Chatman spoiled his lucky day by front-flipping over Ayala, who lay on the mat momentarily motionless. The stunt cost him the match and earned him a disqualification loss.
The 23-year-old Chatman was docked pay for the fight and suspended for 90 days by the California State Athletic Commission. In a recent statement to MMA Fighting, Chatman owned up to his lapse of judgement.
“Let me be honest with you, man,” Chatman said. “I don’t deserve to get paid for that. It’s disappointing watching that. My mother has to see that. People that look up to me and see me become an inspiration to them have to look at that. Even though I’m not a champion so to speak, but I overcame a lot of things and I became something that I never thought I would become. Just to have my first pro fight is crazy, because I didn’t think I’d ever be on this level. It just happened so fast.
“So, the rules are the rules. And at the end of the day, when you actually look at what took place, I’m OK with having my pay taken away. I’m OK with being suspended 90 days. I’m OK with that. Because you can’t get that back. The video is priceless. I have to look back at that and live with regret every single day.”
Chatman, who said he was overcome by the nerves and emotions of his first profession fight, offered a personal apology to Ayala and expressed his acceptance of his sentencing.
“I want to apologize to Irvins Ayala,” Chatman said. “He was a good opponent. And he brought the fight to me. And he had a lot of heart. It was not a good move on my part as a martial artist. And I want to apologize to the California athletic commission, because they laid down the rules, they gave a great understanding and they do their job very well. Also, to Legacy, LFA, because they gave me a great opportunity to display my skills and it was a good platform.
“I’m not gonna play the victim here, because when you look at it the real victim here is Irvins Ayala. Let’s just be real. He showed up, he fought. It was an unfortunate mishap, but it did not have to end that way. All this publicity, all this media, the reality is I was wrong and I ain’t trying to gain no fame off of this, because I’m a martial artist.”
A wise man once told me “It’s not what happens that matters, it’s what you make happen after whatever happens happened.” It’s good to see Chatman taking full responsibility and playing it classy after an act that was just the opposite.