Mokaev explains the ‘ghost tap’ says: ‘I will never tap even if I end my career that way’

Muhammad Mokaev has no regrets about not tapping out after suffering a devastating kneebar attempt at UFC 286 from Jafel Filho.

Despite his leg bending in ways the human body cannot sustain, Mokaev refused to give up and eventually turned the tables, finishing Filho with a submission of his own.

In an interview on The MMA Hour, Mokaev said that he believes he is different and that he will never tap out.

“I’ll never tap,” Mokaev said.

“I will never tap. I know it’s a crazy thing to say. I will go to sleep. They break my arm. If the referee stops [the fight, then it stops]. If they don’t stop, I will never tap, even if I end my career that way.

“I just have this principle. I believe I went through my life the strongest of them hopping inside the cage. Just my principles. I want to be different.”

“It is worth it,” Mokaev said. “Now I would have my heart be in more pain than actually the knee [if I tapped]. I know it’s hard for me to walk or anything to do. I have two floors in our house and I couldn’t get up to the second floor since I got back to my house. But I think it’s worth it.”

“An injury can recover. People say he will never be back the same again, all this. If my heart is still strong after that night, I will be back.”

Mokaev revealed that he underwent an MRI on Monday to learn the extent of the damage to his knee, which swelled up and caused him immense pain.

He has yet to receive the results to know what potential injury he may face. A torn ACL or other torn ligaments could sideline him for the better part of 2023, but he’s hopeful that the diagnosis will only require rehabilitation and time off rather than surgery.

Mokaev expressed hope he’ll be back in competition by this summer.

Mokaev also responded to Filho’s claims that he felt the Dagestani native tap out several times during, some of which are separate from the kneebar attempt.

Mokaev scoffed at those comments and pointed out that no submission applied by Filho came closer to finishing than the kneebar, and he refused to tap out to that, so why would he just quit in another moment when he wasn’t in nearly as much danger?