LAS VEGAS – A dominant performance that led to a second-round finish wasn’t enough to shake UFC middleweight Junyong Park’s concerns.
On the prelims of UFC Fight Night 213 at UFC Apex, Park (15-5 MMA, 5-2 UFC) submitted Joseph Holmes with a rear-naked choke to record his second straight victory. As Park’s corner began to celebrate at the moment of the stoppage, the South Korean middleweight motioned for them to quiet down.
What seemed like a “humble in victory, humble in defeat” moment after tapping Holmes (8-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC), Park later revealed his actions had a much deeper meaning. While he usually embodies the previous phrase regardless, this time was different.
“There’s been a tragedy not too long ago in Korea, and as much as I want to celebrate, I’m holding back,” Park told reporters through an interpreter at the post-fight news conference.
During Halloween festivities in South Korea’s capital, 150 people were killed during a crowd surge incident on a narrow street in Seoul.
“I just got word, because the team didn’t want to tell me, that my friend was a part of the tragedy that happened,” Park said. “I just got word that my friend is awake, but my main goal now is to get back, get on my phone, and start making calls back home.”
Park was pleased with his performance because all of his hard work leading up to this bout paid off, but he couldn’t find it in him to celebrate the moment due to concerns for his friend and others involved in the accident.
The win over Holmes marked Park’s fifth UFC victory, but it was his first win by stoppage. He entered Saturday’s contest on the heels of a split decision win over Eryk Anders in May. Park also holds decision wins over Marc-Andre Barriault, John Phillips, and Tafon Nchukwi.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 213.