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“Protect yourself at all times,” is the standard warning from referees in every discipline of combat sport. If the referee has not told the fighters to stop, or a fighter is not under the referee’s protection, the fight remains open and all legal techniques can be used.

As an experienced professional Harut Grigorian (44-10, 32 KO’s) has heard the instruction dozens of times. But at GLORY 42 its import escaped him.

Having taken a hard left knee from Groenhart in the second round he responded by turning and walking away. It was a mistake. Referee Paul Nicholls had not called a stop to the action and Groenhart capitalized, chasing after him and landing a right hook which knocked him out instantly.

The blow caused controversy but it was a perfectly legal blow. The fight had not been stopped and Grigorian was not under the referee’s protection. The punch landed with a legal part of the glove and though it was thrown from behind it landed on a legal target area. According to the rulebook, Groenhart was in the right.

Legalities were of no interest to two of Grigorian’s team though. They rushed the ring and set about Groenhart as he celebrated, setting off a mass brawl which saw the extended camps of Mike’s Gym and Hemmers Gym enter the ring to variously engage in hostilities or attempt to cease them.

Order was restored after a few minutes and Groenhart’s hand was formally raised, awarding him the win by KO. The fight had been declared an official ‘contender elimination’ affair by GLORY and so Groenhart now goes forward to take a title shot against Cedric Doumbé, winner of the evening’s title fight.

Bad blood existed prior to the fight. The two had previously met in 2012, when both were at lightweight. Grigorian dominated that fight for two rounds until Groenhart staged a sudden comeback and stopped him. At the weigh-ins on Thursday they had to be separated by GLORY staff and by coincidence their fight tonight ended the same way, only in slightly more bucolic circumstances.

The fight itself went as expected, the two meeting in the middle of the ring and going at it in the way only true personal rivals can. Tonight’s events only add to the rivalry and despite Groenhart being 2-0 so far, further encounters are highly likely. In the meantime, Groenhart turns his focus to the promised title shot against Doumbé.

Murthel Groenhart def. Harut Grigorian, KO, Right Hook, R2