Winning a combat sports matchup is quite an achievement considering how risky it is. One contest can take months to prepare for. This is why we see MMA pros express joy and excitement through a variety of gestures — backflips being one of them.
As cool as it may look, the backflip is a dangerous move that many fail to perform correctly. Teimur Zhaparov proved this when he recently messed up a cage crawl for the backflip. He won his outing at the Octagon League and proceeded to somersault from the top of the cage.
However, he lost his balance and fell to the side of the cage. The fall looked painful but the adrenaline rush helped him get right back up. The “General” looked to be frustrated and embarrassed and he was escorted to the back.
Regardless, Zhaparov climbed up to a 12-3 record and the victory extended his winning streak to eight matches. He is an accomplished Kazakh athlete who’s won world championships in his amateur career. He currently competes as a flyweight.
It seems like Zhaparov was trying to copy former UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje. Gaethje is known for his signature backflip from the top of the cage onto the canvas. The “Highlight” has worried many with his use of the move.
Justin Gaethje also failed at the backflip a couple times pic.twitter.com/YdVtkadPmX
— calfkicker (@calfkickercom) February 20, 2023
He once infamously failed it during his UFC debut. Gaethje defeated Michael Johnson in an iconic matchup, after which he went for the flip off the cage. However, he was too exhausted to pull it off the very first time, so he had to try two more times until he got it right.
Similarly, Michael Chandler also botched a backflip landing after winning his UFC debut. The former Bellator lightweight champion got an excellent airtime on his flip. But the momentum was just too much and he had to improvise when he landed on the canvas.
UFC president Dana White was quite angry and said the following regarding such moves:
“I just — I don’t get the backflip thing and I don’t like it. Somebody’s going to get f—king hurt doing that.”
Gaethje later explained he was threatened with fines if he tries the celebration againg – but UFC keeps showing it in the highlight reels so it’s a risk worth taking.
Syed Ali Fazeel is an accomplished MMA fan, and writer. He discovered MMA in his youth and has been following the sport since TUF season 1.