Coach says Harut Grigorian is “fine”, looking to move forward

Published on Jun 15, 2017

Harut Grigorian's coach Nick Hemmers says it is hard for him to watch the video of him being stopped by Murthel Groenhart at GLORY 42 PARIS this past weekend. 

In what is the most controversial knockout in GLORY history, Groenhart hit Grigorian in the head with a knee that made him turn away, then hit him with a right hook from behind which dropped him to the canvas, out cold.

Grigorian lay there in a quickly-spreading pool of blood. It was pouring from the cut over his eye, caused by the knee strike, but because it wasn't noticeable until he hit the canvas, it made the fight-ending punch seem that much worse.

Questions surrounded the finish immediately: why did Grigorian turn away and start walking off after taking the knee strike? Was Groenhart justified in throwing his punch at a retreating opponent or should he have held back and waited for Grigorian's strange behavior to play out?

“Harut is fine. He told me that he felt the blood come immediately after being cut in the eyebrow area with the knee and he knew it was a big open cut straight away and so he turned to come to the corner and the doctor would take a look at it. But obviously the fight was still ongoing and so Murthel did what he did,” says Nick Hemmers. 

“It was just one of those situations where everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Harut turned away because he knew he was cut, we don't have a standing eight-count in GLORY and it happened too fast for referee Paul Nicholls to step in and have the doctor look at the cut.

“For me it was a cheap shot. It was legal, but it feels to me like a cheap shot. I wouldn't do it, Harut wouldn't do it, a lot of fighters have told me they wouldn't do it. At the same time, it's inside the rules, so he's not done anything against the rules. 

“When I rewatch it, to see him take that punch and go down the way he goes down, knocked out like that... it's hard to watch that. He is my friend as well as my fighter. It's hard for me to watch him be knocked out by a cheap shot like that. 

“I feel like Murthel must have been able to see that the knee opened a cut and that it would have been pretty obvious the doctor would have stopped the fight once he inspected it. I don't think that punch was necessary. At the same time, Murthel is a trained guy and has killer instinct; if you give him an opportunity to finish you, he will take it.”

Grigorian was soon back on his feet and, by the time he was backstage, his wounded pride was hurting him more than any blows he took in the fight. According to his coach, he is already trying to get back in the gym for the morning pro-fighter sessions, but is being forced to take time out.

“I'm keeping him away from sparring for at least four weeks because that was a hard knockout and I don't want him taking any head contact for a while. When he is ready to come back we will see who is available,” says Hemmers Jr. 

“We definitely want that rematch with Murthel at some point but he will go forward for a title shot now, so we have to wait and see what comes next for Harut. We are still going after that title shot.”

An extra layer of drama was added to the fight's finish when two of Grigorian's friends jumped over the barriers and into the ring to attack Groenhart in the middle of his celebrations. A melee ensued and it took several minutes to restore order. 

GLORY issued a statement shortly afterwards condemning the actions of the individuals who stormed the ring and said that a complaint against them would be lodged with French police with a view to pursuing prosection.

“Yeah that was a bad thing,” sighs Hemmers Jr. “I don't know those two guys, I know that one of them is an MMA fighter, that's about it. But for sure they aren't part of Harut's team or our team here. 

“I think I was the first one who spotted them coming in – I was the first one in the ring after them, pulling them off Groenhart. I was in there before security or anyone else. But it's all good now, no hard feelings. We are all just looking to move on.”

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