Army veteran’s leg snapped after he refuses to tap during MMA match


A US Army veteran who opted to “never accept defeat” probably should have done so in the ring, after a leg lock -and refusal to tap out- resulted in a broken leg and ankle.

Joshua Hightower -an Iraq War veteran and owner of CIB Arms LLC- felt the snap of failure after refusing to tap out when faced against Matt Vernon, a fighter from Primate Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, who managed to put him in a very precarious position at the Arkansas American Grappling Federation tournament.

“I was close to stopping it when I heard his heel pop,” wrote referee Garett Mowles.

Hightower lost by way of a heel hook that resulted in an excruciating amount of pain, Hightower refused to tap out despite multiple submission attempts, ultimately resulting in the referee stepping in.

Sadly for Hightower, his first-round loss was not well received by those in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community, namely publications like BJEE and JiuJitsu Times.

“You have to hand it to this guy: he’s not a quitter. In fact, if I were ever in a war zone, I would want a guy like this to have my back,” the Jiu Jitsu Times wrote. “But there’s a time to keep fighting, and a time to accept defeat. This guy really should have done the latter.”

BJEE was less forgiving, however, and accused Hightower -in the title of their article- of throwing a tantrum.

In a Facebook post, Hightower expressed his disdain at his public treatment post-match.

“While it’s true I slapped the mat after the ref stopped it ( did not tap), I did it out of pain and frustration, not anger or temper tantrum,” he wrote “I got up [and] shook the opponent’s hand…, congratulated him. I also made sure the ref knew I had no issue with him and that I knew he was only trying to protect me.”

“I’m honestly shocked about how disingenuous the whole community is being over this issue,” he added. “The lack of integrity is stunning and sad.”

In response to a comment about the referee stopping the match, Vernon said, “So glad he did lol I thought I was going to have to expose his bone!”

“This should have been stopped way sooner,” said fellow Army veteran and MMA fighter Andrew Todhunter.  “A injury like that is severe. I hope a lesson was learned so this situation can be avoided.”

Either way, it seems there is a lesson to be learned from all of this. Not terribly sure what, but it’s there.

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