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'It's a shame that you can't go back and review that' - Derek Brunson explains why Jon Jones' DQ loss shouldn't count

Jon Jones (left); Jon Jones (top right); Matt Hamill (bottom right)
Jon Jones (left); Jon Jones (top right); Matt Hamill (bottom right)
Johny Payne
Modified 18 Feb 2021

Derek Brunson believes it’s a shame that Jon Jones’ DQ loss hasn’t been overturned as of yet. Addressing the same, Brunson explained why the only loss on Jones' record shouldn’t count.

Jon Jones is widely regarded as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. He is also is considered to be virtually undefeated, with a professional MMA record of 26 wins, 1 loss, and 1 NC (No Contest). The only blemish on 'Bones’' MMA career is a DQ (Disqualification) loss he suffered against Matt Hamill.

The DQ loss was attributed to the fact that Jon Jones landed illegal 12-6 elbows on his downed opponent Matt Hamill. On that note, UFC middleweight Derek Brunson – who previously trained with Jones at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy – opined that Jones’ DQ loss shouldn’t count.

Speaking to The Schmo, Derek Brunson stated:

“Oh, I mean, I guess you have to give it to Jon,” Derek Brunson said when asked whom he considers the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). “Even that fight where he fought (Matt) Hamill, in today’s MMA, that would’ve been stopped like, I don’t know, a whole minute before it was stopped. And it’s a shame that you can’t go back and review that because that fight should’ve been stopped way before an illegal elbow was even thrown. You know, a guy’s not able to get pummeled like that these days. Refs are looking out for fighters’ safety, which, deservedly so. This is a sport, and people deserve to, you know – you get punched in the head, you get hit – you deserve to go home with your family (with) as least damage as possible. And if you’re in a spot where you’re not defending yourself or fighting back, fight is over at that point.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

(*The Jon Jones vs. Matt Hamill finishing sequence is considered to be quite graphic, as can be seen in the tweet below. Viewer's discretion is advised.)

Derek Brunson reiterated the dangers of late stoppages in combat sports, and he lent his support to referees being more proactive in stopping fights when fighters aren’t effectively defending themselves.

Jon Jones vs. Matt Hamill – Bones’ only MMA loss thus far

Jon Jones (left); Derek Brunson (right)
Jon Jones (left); Derek Brunson (right)

A 12-6 elbow in MMA is perhaps best-explained by veteran referee and MMA personality ‘Big’ John McCarthy’s concept of a wall clock. The 12-6 elbow is one that’s landed by a fighter from the top position downwards on the opponent. The consensus is that the elbow has to travel in the downward trajectory perpendicular to the ground, in order to be regarded as a 12-6 elbow.

The 12-6 elbow rule, to this very date, has been a hot-button topic. At times, elbows that appear as innocuous legal strikes in real-time can be identified as 12-6 elbows when watching replays in slow-motion.

During the formative years of the UFC in the 1990s, the rule-sets for most MMA fights were rather vague. Nevertheless, the 12-6 elbows eventually became the subject of controversy as certain sections of the combat sports community claimed that the elbows posed a risk to fighters’ safety.

Representatives from top MMA promotions like Pride FC, the UFC, and others met and agreed to prohibit the 12-6 elbows. Resultantly, it was decided that a fighter wouldn’t be allowed to land the 12-6 elbows downwards on an opponent. This rule was adopted into the Unified Rules of MMA, but it has been applied differently to different cases.


For instance: In some cases, a fighter who lands the elbow is simply given a warning and allowed to continue. However, other fighters have been deducted a point for landing the elbow. Alternatively, a fighter could also be handed a DQ loss – akin to the Matt Hamill vs. Jon Jones matchup.

The fight between Jon Jones and Matt Hamill was a light heavyweight bout that transpired at The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale event in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 5th, 2009. Jon Jones dominated the matchup and almost stopped Hamill with a vicious ground and pound attack.

However, Jon Jones began throwing 12-6 elbows to Hamill’s head from the top position. The end came at the 4:14 minute-mark of round one, as Hamill was incapacitated by the strikes. The fight was declared a DQ win for Hamill.

Many in the MMA community believe the fight should’ve been a KO/TKO win for Jon Jones. But the referee Steve Mazzagatti and NSAC (Nevada State Athletic Commission) suggested that since the 12-6 elbows served as the final blows which rendered Hamill unable to continue. Jon Jones being disqualified was, in their opinion, the correct course of action.

In the ensuing years, UFC president Dana White has tried to get Jon Jones’ DQ loss overturned but hasn’t succeeded in doing so as of yet. Jon Jones, on his part, has suggested that DQ loss doesn’t bother him as much and he’s focused on what the future holds for his combat sports career.


Presently, Derek Brunson is set to face Kevin Holland in a five-round middleweight bout that’ll headline UFC Fight Night 188 on March 20th, 2021. On the other hand, reigning UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is scheduled to put his title on the line against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 on March 27th, 2021.

Jon Jones is expected to make his heavyweight debut later this year and fight the winner of the Miocic-Ngannou matchup for the UFC heavyweight title.

Published 18 Feb 2021, 13:31 IST
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