Kurt Pellegrino almost didn’t get a chance to win Submission of the Night at UFC 111 … according to him the initial dumping of Fabricio Camoes on his head that set up his 65k choke actually separated Camoes from consciousness:
“To be honest with you, he was completely knocked out,” Pellegrino said. “He froze. I turned around (after the head spike and choke escape), and his eyes were rolled in the back of his head. He was like frozen and stuck on me. When I was able to get around, I thought they were going to stop the fight. When I turned around, he was out. By just me hitting him a little bit, it kind of woke him up.
“It was the weirdest thing.”
If you’re like me, you were probably wondering “Aren’t head spikes illegal?” And yep, according to both the UFC and New Jersey, “spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck” is listed as a foul. I think we all agree that face plant definitely could have caused the neck trauma that this rule was meant to prevent, but most people have squared things away by saying Pellegrino was escaping a submission, this ain’t [insert pussy sport here], and if you put yourself into that kind of position, you better expect to get what’s coming to you.
With most of my jits drama tied up with the Palhares situation, I don’t have a super strong opinion on this one. But it seems pretty clear to me that the rules say ‘no spiking’, not ‘no spiking when’. As easily as you can argue that Camoes shouldn’t have put himself into that position if he didn’t want to be spiked, you could argue that he only stayed there because he assumed Pellegrino was going to follow the fucking rules and not spike him. Those saying Camoes could have let go of the sub to avoid being spiked – does this mean we can now foul attacking opponents any time and it’s their fault for not stopping the foul?
There’s should only be one question that really needs to be asked when wondering if the spiking rule was broken: did the person execute the move knowing that their opponent would be spiked? With tosses or suplexes, that’s not the case. When you do a diving roll with someone riding your back like in Pellegrino / Camoes, then I think it’s safe to say you know what’s probably going to happen.