Prizefighting can be a pursuit of savagery. It can occasionally be a case study in the best of humanity.
Take, for instance, the recent fight between Mike Pantangco and Jeremy Rasner. The two amateurs were competing on a fight card for the hideously named Prison City Fight League in Jackson, Michigan, when the unusual scene unfolded.
As the action progressed, it became quickly apparent that Pantangco was the superior fighter, far more technical and seasoned. Still, Rasner’s toughness kept him in the bout as the first round neared an end.
As the clocked ticked under 20 seconds, Pantangco drilled Rasner again, this time with a spinning back fist. Rasner wobbled but stayed on his feet. Instead of attempting to add a highlight reel knockout to his resume, however, Pantangco instead did something completely unexpected.
He backed away, took a knee and tapped the mat.
Instead of a sure victory, Pantangco was instead charged with a TKO loss.
He explained his decision to AXSTV’s "Inside MMA."
"I just feel that there’s no point fighting him because he didn’t train against me and I didn’t train for him and I just feel like we’re amateur fighters," he said. "We don’t get money, we don’t get paid, and I know that the only thing I’m going to finish the fight is him to go in the hospital or get hurt. I just feel terrible so I’m just going to give him the win."
Rasner reacted as most would, in surprise and shock.
When the final decision was read, the official raised Rasner’s hand, but Rasner raised Pantangco’s. And while the official decision didn’t quite accurately reflect the action, those final gestures perfectly reflected the spirit of sportsmanship.