5 times fighters tried to weather a submission but paid the price

Andre Muniz (left) & Jacare Souza (right)
Andre Muniz (left) & Jacare Souza (right)

Finishes and submissions in MMA hold a special place in the hearts of fans and pundits. While knockouts tend to lean towards the vicious and gnarly nature of the sport, submissions bring its capacity for grace to the fore. The step-by-step application of the perfect submission hold is something that truly brings forth a certain sense of gratification to viewers.

However, not all submissions conform to this preconceived notion that fans hold. Things can go sideways at the drop of a hat when it comes to rough submissions. Fighters who refuse to let go of submissions are, however, only one side of the coin. Fighters who refuse to tap out in the hopes of changing the tide in their favor in the face of abject adversity embody the other side of the coin.


An old adage in MMA, 'tap or snap', preaches the importance of safety while competing in professional and amateur combat sports competitions that include submissions. Fighters are often advised to tap out and fight for the win on another day should they find themselves backed into a submission that they can't wriggle out of. However, some fighters refuse to give up that easily.

There is a lot of discourse surrounding the fighters' reluctance to tap out. Some consider it a form of disrespect, while some believe that it proves a fighter's valor inside the octagon. Regardless of the reason, the refusal to tap out of submission holds often leads to broken bones and torn ligaments. This is something that could easily derail a fighter's career.

In this article we take a look at five instances when fighters refused to tap out and suffered the consequences for it.

#5. Jacare Souza vs. Roger Gracie - Arm-lock submission

Jacare Souza has cemented himself as one of the foremost grapplers in the world. He proved his grappling pedigree against Roger Gracie in a jiu-jitsu world championship open-weight bout back in 2004.


The open-weight final in Rio de Janeiro saw Roger Gracie lock in a terrifying arm-lock in an attempt to submit the three-time jiu-jitsu world champion. However, the UFC legend refused to tap out and suffered a broken arm.

Regardless, the two-time open-weight gold medalist continued to fight for yet another minute and managed to walk away with the win. Souza was aware that he would win on the basis of points if he could weather the submission. That's exactly what happened.

#4. Renzo Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba - Kimura submission

Renzo Gracie regards his submission loss at the hands of Kazushi Sakuraba at the Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Japan, back in 2000 as one of the most influential fights of his career. The fight went down as part of the Pride FC 10: Return of the Warriors card. It was a rather unusual take considering the fight ended with the most gruesome injury he ever suffered over the course of his career.

The member of the foremost family in the realm of MMA went toe-to-toe with Sakuraba, who had dismantled two of his cousins. His fight against a third member of the Gracie clan ended with yet another win to his name. However, Renzo Gracie suffered a brutal injury during the fight.


The UFC star in waiting found himself caught in a devastating Kimura submission that left him with a dislocated elbow after he refused to tap out in the second round. The win against Rezno earned Sakuraba a significant amount of acclaim in his home country of Japan. In addition, he walked away from the fight with the Moniker of the 'Gracie Hunter'.

#3. Tim Sylvia vs. Frank Mir - Armbar submission

Tim Sylvia and Frank Mir fought at UFC 48 back in June 2004. Their clash was for the vacant UFC heavyweight title. Mir recorded a first-round finish against Sylvia, walking away with the coveted strap.

#OnThisDay in 2004, Frank Mir got a hold of Tim Sylvia's arm and didn't let go 😱Seconds later he was the UFC heavyweight champion 👊

Mir managed to overcome the challenge presented by Sylvia within the first minute of their fight, taking the win by way of submission with an armbar. However, the injury that Sylvia endured was the talking point of the fight.

While in the painful hold, the heavyweight suffered a broken arm. However, no one in the arena, with the exception of referee Herb Dean, noticed the injury until the fight-ending sequence was shown on the big screen.

In addition to refusing to tap, Sylvia wanted to continue competing. However, the fight was waved off by referee Dean after he noticed the arm-break.

#2. Jacare Souza vs. Andre Muniz - Armbar submission

Jacare Souza and Andre Muniz's fight at UFC 262 came to an end after Muniz managed to lock in an Armbar submission. The fight went down in May this year at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Souza started the fight strongly, seemingly laying into Muniz after his compatriot had claimed that he was a better grappler than him. However, Muniz did not take that lying down and responded with a series of takedowns of his own.

André Muniz SUBMITS Ronaldo Souza in the first round! 👏#UFC262

Another takedown attempt from Muniz was Souza's undoing. Although 'Jacare' managed to shrug Muniz over the top, the surging middleweight got a hold of his arm and transitioned into a uniquely positioned armbar.

Muniz went on to torque the arm until an audible snap brought an end to the fight. Replays subsequently verified that Souza had suffered a fracture and was soon attended to by medical officials.

#1. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir - Kimura submission

Antonio Nogueira took on heavyweight kingpin Frank Mir for the second time in what was a co-main event at UFC 140. The event unfolded at the Scotiabank Arena in Ontario, Canada, in December 2011.


Their heavyweight clash came to an end in the first round. Nogueira, who had managed to rock Mir with a strike to the head, tried to nail him down with a submission. However, Mir managed to squirm out of mount and subsequently locked on a tight kimura.

Mir, who had earned a significant amount of infamy as a fighter who was not averse to breaking bones, went on to break his opponent's arm and secure victory in gruesome fashion.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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