The Receiving End: Tim Hague


Hague is on the Receiving End of a Zak Jensen Kick (photo by Jason Bouwmeester)

So far, 2012 has been kind to MMA fans. The year started off with UFC 142, an event that bombarded fans with an array of spectacular knockouts. Edson Barboza flattened Terry Etim, unleashing a breathtaking wheel kick that Hollywood special effects departments would have trouble replicating. Barboza’s victory was celebrated by MMA fans worldwide. He was awarded a $65,000 Knockout-of-the-Night bonus by the UFC and added a picture-perfect finish to his personal highlight reel.

While the victory was one for the MMA history books, Barboza didn’t enter the cage alone. Two men entered, revved for battle, and one triumphed. Both walked to the octagon determined to win, yet only one left with something to celebrate.  Being on the receiving end of a devastating knockout, as Terry Etim was, is an unpredictable and brutal potentiality in the sport of mixed martial arts. Of course Etim is not the first fighter to fall victim to a crushing knockout like the one Barboza dealt at UFC 142. Such finishes are woven into MMA’s history.

A  similar story occurred at UFC 102, in Portland, Oregon, where Heavyweight Tim Hague found himself on the wrong end of a devastating knockout just seven seconds after the fight began.

“It kind of just goes to show you that anything can happen at any given moment, and that night I got extremely unlucky,” Hague said of his loss as I spoke to him on the phone from halfway across Canada.

“In the big scheme of things, it was probably a really embarrassing moment for me, and it kind of derailed my momentum. I was 10-1, and I’d avenged my only loss. It kind of took the wind out my sails, so to speak”, he continued.

Hague lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and with two and a half years between himself and his fight with Todd Duffee in Portland, he’s had plenty of time to reflect on the details of the loss.

Before he signed with UFC, Tim Hague finished Jared Kilkenny in just 9 seconds with a beautiful punch. Despite this, he admits that, coming into the Duffee fight, he still did not fully fathom just how quickly things can go wrong inside the cage.

“Not really, no,” he admitted when I asked him if he understood the speed with which a fight could end prior to UFC 102. “I’ve been on both ends.”, he continued, touching on his fight with Kilkenny, but he did not deny that it took being the victim of a quick knockout to properly comprehend just how brief a cage fight can be.

When MMA fans watch a knockout, most often in awe, their attention is quickly yanked in the direction of the next fight. Little thought is given to the man who was struck into unconsciousness. The victim of a knockout leaves the cage, dazed and distraught, while his opponent celebrates and the viewers await the next fight.

Hague will be on the Receiving End of a Jensen Right (photo by Jason Bouwmeester)

Tim Hague walked me through the moments after being knocked out.

“I don’t really remember anything until I got to a big bathroom and shower area backstage, and called Kyle, my coach. I said, ‘Kyle, I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t know where we are, I don’t know if I fought yet’,” Hague described, illustrating the immense disorientation experienced immediately after a knockout.

“He [Kyle] said, ‘Oh it’s okay buddy, you got knocked out, you’ll come around soon enough.’ And that’s my first memory, besides coming out across the cage towards Todd.”

Hague trained hard for the Duffee fight. He had a very successful camp leading up to the fight. “The numbers on all my exercises were better. I’d say I’d probably trained hard for about eight to ten weeks for that fight.”

Investing eight to ten weeks of full-time training is an indication of any fighter’s dedication, yet, with so much build up and preparation—and such a disappointing result on the night that counts most—one has to wonder if it would all feel like time wasted.

Tim Hague’s answer to this question was simple: “Not, really no,” he said, optimistic about his camp’s worth. “I just wish I would have started the fight differently, as opposed to trying to land a knockout punch on my first punch.”

It’s difficult to imagine having to cope with a loss like this in the days and weeks following the event. Tim did so by returning home to Edmonton quickly.

“After a loss, I like to just sit around and watch TV and drink beer for a week or two,” he said, alluding to a remedy that other fighters probably employ after a tough loss.

“I didn’t really didn’t let it bother me that much, but, looking back on it, I can tell that I was upset about the whole deal. It was a brutal situation I guess,” he added, indicating that his TV and beer recovery regimen may not have been just what the doctor ordered.

He was honest in his assessment of how long it took him to recover mentally from his loss to Todd Duffee. After that fight, he lost twice more, To Chris Tuchscherer and Joey Beltran, both times finding himself on the wrong end of the judges’ decision.

“After my loss to Beltran, I had this little flip camera that the UFC gave me, and I sat down, and got all emotional, and I was gonna make a little personal video to my son for him to watch when he was older. I was going to retire after that fight,” Tim explained dolefully.

“After a few days, I figured ‘I don’t think I’m done’. So I deleted the video and took some time off and then I decided to finally get my act together, so to speak, and get in shape, and then I knocked out Zach Jensen and Travis Wiuff. I was in really good shape for those fights. I think that’s when I finally turned things around,” he explained, revealing the lengthy road to recovery that can follow a tough loss.

In fact, he believes his performances against Tuchscherer and Beltran can be attributed to his unfortunate loss to Duffee. “I know I could out-strike both of those guys. Watching the fights you can see that I was a little punch shy.  I didn’t feel like it at the time, but it [The Duffee fight] probably played with me psychologically a little bit.”

One aspect of being knocked out that would seem difficult to deal with is the number of repeated opportunities to see yourself getting knocked out—both on TV and in the footage that fight promoters use to hype your former opponent’s next fights. Todd Duffee’s win at UFC 102 was an impressive one, and his blitz victory over Hague became a staple of his highlight reel. The UFC played the footage of Hague’s loss repeatedly when promoting Duffee’s next fight against veteran Mike Russow. Hague admits he saw the footage.

“Oh yeah, I saw it all. I mean look at the guy, he’s a physical specimen, he’s basically exactly what the UFC was looking for, a big, ripped heavyweight, not an ounce of fat on him,” he said, demonstrating great sportsmanship and clearly understanding the UFC’s need, as a business, to use his loss as a lever for promoting the rising prospect and probable cash cow in Duffee.

Duffee’s fight against Russow saw him batter his opponent for two and a half rounds, until he too fell to an erratic knockout, demonstrating again the wild turns a fight can take. Duffee was later released by the UFC, and was finished in just seconds by Allistair Overeem in his first fight outside the promotion. No fighter is immune to the knockout.

Most of us aren’t brave enough to ever get into the cage, and risk discovering how being knocked out feels. Thankfully, athletes like Tim Hague can explain it to us.

“It doesn’t really feel like anything, besides hurting your pride when you gain your senses again. Duffee knocked me out pretty bad, like I was right out,” he said. “I lost memory.”

He continued with a quiet chuckle, “I had a headache for a couple of days, but my face wasn’t sore at all which was kind of weird.”

He went on.  “It felt like I maybe had vertigo. I’d have kind of out-of-body experiences, but eventually that went away. I guess it was just post-concussion.

Hague eventually KO'd Jensen (photo by Jason Bouwmeester)

Despite the blow to his pride, the physical pain, and the temporary derailment of his career, Tim Hague pulled no punches when asked his favourite way to end a fight.

“Oh, definitely a knockout!  There’s nothing like clipping a guy with a punch and seeing him lose his senses and knowing that you just added to your highlight reel.”

Dealing a vicious knockout is the preferred path to victory for many fighters. Conversely, it figures to be one of the worst ways to lose.  With seven knockout or technical knockout victories on his impressive resume, it goes without saying the Tim Hague is familiar with both sides of the coin.

It shouldn’t be long until we see him fight again. He’s currently recovering from a back injury, and has recently been testing his hands in the boxing ring (with much success, knocking out his first opponent in the second round), but he promises to appear often in combat sports this year.

“Whatever opportunities come my way, I’ll probably jump on them. I want to get really active this year.”

17 Responses to “ The Receiving End: Tim Hague ”

  1. Ricky says:

    Not a Hague fan until he fights Ryan Fortin for the #1 Heavyweight spot in Canada.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  2. Idolmaker says:

    Geez people have become very anti Hague haven’t they? 1 comment and always bashing him.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. Bobby Karimi says:

    Ricky must be on drugs. Hague is clearly the #1 HW in Canada. His achievements/record far surpasses Fortin’s at the moment. Again I don’t even see the point of Hague fighting Fortin.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  4. Idolmaker says:

    I agree completely. The hw division is so thin, that Hague is leaps and bounds above #2. Just interesting how much
    Flak he gets for his persona. Yeah he throws out some ridiculous stuff on Facebook, so what he’s still a pretty good dude.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  5. Bobby Karimi says:

    Like mentioned in on Top MMA Radio, this was a great read. Well done!

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. Ricky says:

    Bobby Karimi, that is why you are retarded. Fortin would win and they are #1 and #2 in Canada. Why would you try to prevent a fight that everyone wants? Its because Hague is your buddy and you try to protect him. You must be on drugs. You are pathetic. People do not like Tim Hague because he is a very average fighter that thinks he is great in his own mind. Hague will keep milking that imaginary back injury and avoding Fortin and you will keep being a retard.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  7. Bobby Karimi says:

    HAHAHA, I love this site!

    Hague is absolutely not my buddy, that is a FACT!

    I’m 100% right on my analysis and you are one angry young man. :)

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  8. Ricky says:

    Im sure you do love this site. You talk too much. You are always on Tim Hagues nuts, one of his fake buddies that post on here i suppose. Does he pay you?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  9. Cody Rempel says:

    Bobby speaks the truth and doesn’t let his personal feelings get in the way of what he says, friend or not he can admit that Hague is by far the #1 Heavyweight in Canada… I agree, not taking anything away from Fortin because he has the tools and can get there one day but he needs to start winning the bigger fights, such as Gormley and not to mention, Severn apparently was controlling their fight before Ryan was able to come from behind and finish him in the third!

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. Pat says:

    what type of drugs is bobby doing? I want some

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. Pat says:

    best heavy weight in Canada for sure.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Bobby Karimi says:

    Pat, I do heavy amounts of fat, cholesterol, and sugar.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. Bobby Karimi says:

    Wrong! I don’t talk enough! :)

    I’m never on Hague’s nuts, that comment is outlandish! HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    It’s just that your feelings got hurt when I pointed out the simple factual truth that there is no reason for Tim Hague to fight Ryan Fortin. Hague is by far and away Canada’s #1 HW based on his record and achievements and a win over Ryan Fortin is not worth the risk that’d be involved in fighting the big and dangerous Fortin. Although I will say again that Tim Hague wins that fight around 8 or 9 outta 10 times I think.

    What you seem to have mixed up in your head is that it is Fortin that “needs” that fight. Fortin needs Tim I’d say about 500 times more than Tim needs him to prove anything.

    Now can you think Fortin is better than Hague, sure you can, I disagree but you are entitled to that opinion. But saying that Tim has to fight Fortin for the #1 spot? Crazy talk, Tim is the #1 by far and away.

    1) Hague (Oct 2010 version)
    2) Hague (Current version)
    3) Hague (May 2009 version)
    4) Hague (Oct 2008 version)
    5) Fortin (current version)

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. Brando says:

    Ricky how closely related to Fortin are you? Or are you just friends? Whether Fortin would beat Hague is to be seen but what we do know is that Hague has beat and fought better competetion. Don’t let your personal feelings towards the guy blind you.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  15. Pat says:

    bobby I will fight you fat was but you better stay away from my nutz

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. FortinFan says:

    Risk in the Fortin fight? Fighters fight, not make calculated risks to pad their record. I also believe Hague would lose to Fortin. Bobby, your logic seems off, you pretty much advise fighters to duck other fighters. I think you are in the wrong business.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. deegan striker says:

    who fucking cares
    heavy weights in canada suck.And everyone knows it

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

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