According to a March 28 report from MMA Rising, Heather Clark punched Felice Herrig after the final bell at Bellator 94.
Was it a bush league move on Clark’s part? Let’s first break down the events that transpired prior to the punch heard ’round the world.
What we do know is that Clark called Herrig “trashy” prior to the bout, opening a war of words across social media platforms.
“@greendervish would u want ur kids to look up to a female athlete that spreads her legs in shoots? or to one that just poses sexy but classy,” Clark wrote of Herrig via Twitter.
We also know that Clark appeared in an interview with Knuxx, where she ripped into Herrig for the way she presents herself.
“She promotes herself kind of trashy. I’ve said this before. There’s a difference between sexy and trashy,” Clark said of Herrig. “If I [pull my top up] or spread my legs, that is trashy. If I want to pose sexy or do something like Ronda [Rousey] where she was nude, but artistic, I believe that is sexy. I do think there’s a fine line between being trashy and spreading your legs and having your shirt off, sticking your tongue out and all that s***, and being sexy and flattering and feminine. To me, Felice is trashy and I think a lot of other girls are sexy, and I think that’s totally okay.”
Herrig fired back, calling Clark a hypocrite. Herrig tweeted out a photo to her legion of Twitter followers, showing that Clark did, in fact, do some sexy photo shoots of her own.
That leads us up to the day of the Bellator 94 weigh-ins, where Herrig and Clark went toe-to-toe, pushing at each other until security separated them.
Obviously there was a very real personal “beef” between the ladies, and they couldn’t wait to get at each other on fight night.
In the opening frame of Bellator 94, Clark trapped Herrig in a Thai clinch and landed a knee, then used a headlock takedown to get the fight to the mat. She continued to pepper Herrig with punches until the bell, and in all honesty, Clark dominated the first round.
Herrig made a solid come-from-behind effort in the second round, scoring points in the standup game with leg kicks and crisp combinations with her hands. That brings us up to the third round, a frame that Herrig dominated by continuously working for a rear-naked choke.
When the final bell sounded, Herrig drew her opponent’s ire by screaming into her face in celebration. Clark responded with a backhand punch to Herrig’s face, several seconds after the fight was over.
What we can make of this is that it was poor sportsmanship on the part of both women. Herrig probably shouldn’t have screamed in Clark’s face following the victory if she didn’t want the MMA community to view it as a form of taunting.
However, Clark’s proper response shouldn’t have been to throw a punch after the final bell. That wouldn’t fly in a top-notch league such as UFC, and one would imagine that Bellator MMA frowns on such behavior.
At that point, Clark should have taken the high road by being the bigger women and accepting the loss with class. Had she done so, the MMA community as a whole would have focused on Herrig showing poor sportsmanship, and not the other way around.
As early as high school sports, coaches advise their athletes to “walk away” from a potentially ugly situation by taking the high road, rather than escalating it. Doing so shows that you are the bigger person.
Clark could have easily responded to Herrig’s taunting by yelling back at her or simply walking away. A quick yell back would have been a perfectly reasonable response from Clark. Under no circumstances should a fighter ever throw a punch after the final bell.
What would your reaction be if an opponent yelled in your face after beating you?