When Renzo Gracie did it, he seemed like a legend from an earlier time, from the pages of myth, a man too committed to the warrior mentality to ever yield. Kazushi Sakuraba caught the most valiant of the Gracies in a kimura at PRIDE 10, yanked and yanked on it. Renzo refused to tap. He felt his tendons go, heard the pop. Still he refused to tap. The referee eventually stopped the bout, but not until the arm was broken, the delicate collection of tendons and ligaments horribly mangled. Renzo seemed unconcerned. “I felt it was punishment for a mistake I made,” he said. When asked about a rematch later he was game. “Yes, he could break my other arm.” Courage, blind, idiotic, but admirable. It made Renzo a hero in my eyes.
When Efrain Escudero did it, he just looked stupid.
Is that harsh? Maybe. But when Evan Dunham had Efrain trapped, locked in an armbar that just kept getting deeper and deeper, I desperately hope he would tap. Efrain is a nice kid and a good young prospect. He had controlled and battered Dunham throughout the first round. He was going to learn from this and come back stronger. That, unfortunately, could only happen if he didn’t spend six months rehabbing a busted arm. Still no tap was forthcoming as the seconds passed. There was nothing he could do, no magic escape that was coming.
It was simply pride, the most dangerous of all emotions for a fighter. As Efrain left the Octagon, finally tapping out 20 seconds too late, announcer Joe Rogan speculated he had broken his arm. Heavy.com’s Brett Jones was cageside and texted me that Efrain was in serious pain as he walked to the back. It didn’t look good.
Luckily for Efrain and his fans, the news was much better than expected. He didn’t break his arm, only suffered some tendon injuries. Hopefully minor ones, although I suspect we won’t know the full extent of the injury until the doctors are able to reevaluate his arm after the inflammation and swelling has died down. He announced the news on Twitter.
“Hey guys out the hosiptal nothing broke lil mess up tendenes. I will be back soon now in hungry!! And expect and Evan vs Efrain 2!!!”
Things worked out this time. Next time, go ahead and tap. There’s only one Renzo Gracie.