Morning Report: Stephen Thompson says he tore MCL vs. Darren Till, wants kick to knee to be illegal strike

When Stephen Thomspon came up short against Darren Till at UFC Liverpool, he lost more than a fight, he also lost some of the functionality in his knee and now he wants the UFC to do something to keep it from happening in the future.

Speaking recently with BJPenn.com, Wonderboy revealed that Tills targeting of his lead knee with side kicks was a very effective strategy in their fight, one that ended up tearing his MCL.

You know, there was one thing that really slowed me down during the fight and that was the side kick to the knee, said Thompson. It caught me just right in the center of the knee in the first or second round. I believe it was the second round if I remember correctly. But yeah man I heard some cracking and popping and it slowed me down tremendously so it was hard for me to move around the way I wanted to. I was also worried that if he hit it again the fight would be over. Not just that but also my career. It would have been devastating to tear my ACL for a second time. But yeah after watching the fight, you know, theres always something you can go back and work on.

You know I tore my MCL in the fight with Till, Thompson continued. We did an MRI and thankfully nothing else was damaged. No surgery is required for this injury but I have to give it at least eight weeks to heal properly before I can get back to training.

Aside from in the fifth round when Till nearly knocked Thompson out, the side kicks to Wonderboys legs were the most effective strikes of the fight for Till. The strikes were so effective, in fact, that Thompson wants them to be banned from MMA for the damage they can cause.

I honestly think that strike should be made illegal, Thompson said. It could end somebodys career. You know Robert Whittaker had to have ACL surgery following his first fight with Yoel Romero due to that particular strike. And as you could see, Robert Whittaker made sure to beat Yoel Romero to the punch in their second fight. He threw a lot more than he did this time around. It is just a very dangerous technique.

I think a lot of fighters throw that strike but sometimes it is for different reasons. When I fought Jorge Masvidal he used that same side kick to the knee. But when Jorge threw it, he was doing so just to keep me away. Not in an attempt to injure my knee. But when I was in the cage fighting Till it felt like, Okay this guy is trying to break my leg. It was like he had intentions of ripping everything out in my knee. Thats how I felt anyway. Like this dude is really trying to injure me in here. I think it an ugly strike and that it should be made illegal.

The stepping side kick to the knee has gained popularity in MMA in recent years as both a way of hobbling an opponent and a method of maintaining distance without exposing the striker to having their kick caught. Jon Jones was among the first to popularize the technique in recent years and also caught flak for throwing the strike.

Thompson will be out for a minimum of eight weeks while he recovers from the injury. When he returns, it will be to the back of a fairly clogged line of welterweight contenders, having dropped to number four in the rankings following his loss to Till.


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