Justin Gaethje’s Team Messes Up Mid Fight Before Getting KO’d at UFC 300, Max Holloway Reveals – “I Could Hear Trevor”

Published 04/14/2024, 3:39 AM EDT

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In a night that will go down as one of the best events that UFC has organized, UFC 300 had everything from high-caliber fights to incredible, literal last-second knockouts. And one fight that stood out specifically in that regard was Max Holloway versus Justin Gaethje. As Gaethje put his symbolic BMF title on the line, Holloway took that crown away. And while that last-second knockout sealed the deal, it took a series of calculated decisions to get there. And maybe a little – albeit unintentional – help from his opponent’s coach, Trevor Whitman.

In the dying stages of Round 5, Holloway – already set to win by decision – pointed to the floor in the center of the octagon, inviting Gaethje to finish the fight by trading blows. Leading up to that point, the BMF title fight was playing out just as most predicted, with Holloway being the busier fighter and Gaethje landing the more powerful strikes. But what started turning the scales in Holloway’s favor well before the Round 5 4:59 knockout was a spinning back kick in Round 1.

Per Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje had everything to lose. After calling UFC 300 “the biggest fight card for the next decade probably,” in the post-fight press conference, a reporter addressed that very kick at the end of Round 1. They asked, “You kept throwing that [turning side kick] throughout the night. Was that because of the success you had the first time, or was [it part of] the game plan coming in?”


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That may well have been the pivotal point in the fight. Holloway attested to this, replying, “I was blessed enough to land that spinning back kick. I think he broke his nose.” After that kick, Holloway heard Trevor Whitman give Gaethje some advice. “I could hear Trevor in there being like, “Don’t blow it out. Don’t blow it out. So I was like, ‘Yeah, his nose is broken.’” Justin Gaethje could even be heard telling Whitman, “My nose is completely blocked.” That’s precisely what Holloway capitalized on.

“I just knew fighting 20 minutes like that is a tough thing,” said the newly crowned BMF champion. But he was full of respect for his opponent. Considering Holloway landed that kick at the end of Round 1 – and kept landing it multiple times for the rest of the fight – there’s no doubt Gaethje would’ve been in a lot of pain. But he kept going until the very end. Acknowledging this, Holloway added, “I think his attitude helped him a lot. Any less of a man does not do what Justin Gaethje does. The guy is made out of titanium. He’s a Titan.”

The “Titan” in question shared his thoughts on the blockbuster fight on X, reflecting on the night as well as congratulating Max Holloway. Gaethje wrote, “I’m in great spirits with my family. Thanks for all the love. What a sport. @BlessedMMA, you’re a dog. Congrats. Well deserved double bonus.” In the build-up to UFC 300, Dana White announced that the fight-night bonuses would increase from $50,000 to $300,000. Because of the spectacle that was the Holloway-Gaethje fight, it got the Fight of the Night honors, with both receiving $300,000.

Additionally, as Max Holloway delivered the ultimate BMF moment by coaxing Gaethje to fight till the end, only to knock him out, he got another $300,000 for the Performance of the Night honor. After that performance, Holloway – and the fight, in general – was bound to receive acknowledgment from personalities throughout the MMA sphere. Leading the charge was Islam Makhachev.

Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway was the embodiment of the BMF

Max Holloway during the post-fight interview, called out both the champions of the UFC featherweight and lightweight division. But despite calling out Islam Makhachev, the BMF champion got praise from the lightweight king. Makhachev wrote on X, “Justin is a warrior, keep your head up, champ! Spectacular performance by Max, congrats.”


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Joe Rogan and Dana White joined him in admiring the fight. After the commentator called the ending the “KO of the century,” White discussed the fight in the press conference. Describing what Holloway did, he said,  “He’s got the fight won, and he’s in there with one of the most dangerous guys in the f*cking business, and he says, ‘Let’s do this.’ And they f*cking oblige and they go in. One second left and then a knockout like that. That’s like movie sh*t.”


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Echoing what Holloway said about the knockout – “If that’s not a BMF moment, I don’t know what is” – White added, “When we were sitting in that room, and we created the BMF, tonight totally embodied what that belt was built for. People always ask me what I do, I sell holy sh*t moments for a living. That was the ultimate holy sh*t moment of all time.”


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What should be next for the newly crowned UFC BMF champion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


Written by:

Imtikokba Jamir


One take at a time

Imtikokba Jamir is a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. He is your typical MMA geek who is always on top of the happenings in the sport. Imti’s coverage is not restricted to his favorite fighters, including the likes of Justin Gaethje and Robert Whittaker, but also off-court MMA enthusiasts like the celebrity Mark Wahlberg and former POTUS Donald Trump.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das