UFC featherweight Bryce Mitchell says he will avoid contact training for six months after he was on the wrong end of one of the most vicious knockouts of 2023 last month.
Mitchell (16-2) suffered a first-round loss to Josh Emmett (19-4) at UFC 296 on Dec. 12 in Las Vegas. The knockout went viral online due to the brutality of the right hand landed by Emmett. Moments after hitting the canvas, Mitchell’s entire body went into convulsions, before he eventually regained consciousness and was assisted out of the Octagon. He later thanked Emmett on social media for not throwing any follow-up punches because they “probably would have killed me.”
The 29-year-old told ESPN this week that he has decided to give his body six months to heal from the knockout, which means he likely wouldn’t fight again until late 2024.
“I’m on my own concussion protocol,” Mitchell said. “I’ll consult with my coaches, too, and we’re basically just saying, ‘You know, don’t spar for six months.’ I’ve got to [build a new house] and [expecting my first child], but then I’m right into my next training camp after that. The good thing is that I don’t have to rush into it.”
Mitchell, who fights out of Arkansas, accepted the fight against Emmett on short notice after Emmett’s original opponent, Giga Chikadze, was forced out with injury. He said he did not regret taking the fight and would do so again for the right money.
Mitchell also said it wasn’t difficult watching himself go into convulsions because, “I do that in my sleep anyway. So, I’m not really worried about that part.”
According to Mitchell, he has experienced no lingering health issues from the loss, and he even joked that he was honored he and Emmett won “Knockout of the Year.” He added that the worst part of the experience was worrying his loved ones.
“The worst part is dealing with everybody afterwards, ’cause they all thought I was dead,” Mitchell said. “Everybody that I knew was crying. On the bright side, that was the easiest fight for me. I’ve never had a fight where I’ve come out feeling so great. I just woke up in the ambulance and barely remembered what happened. There’s no pain, I’m telling you. But everybody was crying and they thought I was dead; I’m not exaggerating.”