On Saturday night, Scott Smith trailed on the judges' scorecards, had been badly wobbled and sat on his stool before the third round wondering if he should go out for more punishment. That thought came and went, and Scott answered the third round bell against Benji Radach. He really answered the bell.
With one big right hand, Smith dropped Radach at the 3:24 mark of the third round. We asked Smith to break down everything from that moment forward, for a look at what happens after the biggest win of a fighter's career.
10 seconds after the knockout:
Smith dropped to the center of the cage, face-down. He buried his nose in the logo adorning the canvas and had three full seconds alone, in a packed arena in front of a few hundred thousand TV viewers. Just him and the logo. "I had a second of frustration, because every time I put something together during the fight, I would get rocked."
One second later:
"Then I got overwhelmed with emotion. I doubled my money (to about $50,000 total), and I knew my kids were in the crowd and were going to be able to come into the cage to see dad after he won."
Ten seconds after that:
"One of my trainers, Tim McKenzie, got to me right as I stood up, and he threw me up on his shoulders. So I could see my kids getting close to the outside of the cage."
One minute after the fight ended:
Smith's kids, Scotty and Mike, entered the cage. Showtime cameras captured a poignant moment as Mike asked dad if he was okay. (Smith did look battered.) "Yeah, I'm okay," Smith said.
30 minutes after the fight:
On his way through the backstage area, Smith (with his kids) stopped by Radach's locker room. The preflight banter between the two usually consisted of, "I think I'm going to win the fight, but man, we're going to bomb each other. Somebody's getting knocked out." The two fighters genuinely like and respect each other, so Smith thought it'd be fine to stop by and congratulate Radach on a good battle. "And I wanted my younger son, Mikey, to see that this is a sport, that we don't hate each other, that we care about how the other guy is," Smith says. Radach shook Smith's hand, said hello to the kids and thanked Smith for the tussle.
60 minutes after the fight:
The fight doctor arrived to stitch up Smith's bloodied face, so he sent his kids out of the locker room, but not for the reason you'd expect. "I wasn't worried about them seeing me get patched up," he admits. "I didn't want them to see me screaming like a baby. See, I'm really scared of needles. Like, I scream like a little girl. It's bad."
The kids were shuffled out, and Smith did, indeed, scream and whimper and try to get away as the doctor unveiled the needle and started to do his work. As Smith squirmed, he watched the main event, Nick Diaz's dismantling of veteran Frank Shamrock. "It looked like Frank was in slow motion," Smith says.
Two hours after the fight:
Smith was staying with his two kids and girlfriend in the same hotel room, at the same hotel as his entire entourage of friends and family. When he got back to the hotel, he saw the rest of his crew in the hotel bar hanging out. Smith, stitched and bandaged, hung out for a little while before saying he had to get to bed and put the kids down for the night.
At 4 a.m., roughly six hours after the win:
Smith was laying on the bed and his girlfriend and kids slept around him. "I was just listening to Mikey snore and playing poker on my phone," he says.
At 6 a.m., still unable to sleep:
Smith got up for a strange errand. Two weeks before the fight, friend (and Affliction VP) Tom Atencio had asked Smith if he could catch a ride to the airport with Smith. "Tom busts my balls all the time, and I bust his, because seriously, he's not the brightest guy in the world," Smith says. "I spent the whole car ride driving him to the airport, listening to him tell me how lucky I had been the night before."
Smith and his family drove back home to Elk Grove (CA), about two hours away from San Jose. He took his kids to an egg hunt at a relative's house and tried to get into the mood. But he was tired and sore. And sore in really weird places. "It hurt all over, for sure," Smith says. "But I couldn't believe how sore my left butt cheek was. I'm sure I shouldn't be saying that. But man, it hurt. Not sure what happened there."
Later that afternoon:
Sitting mostly on his right butt cheek, Smith took a seat to watch part of the Masters. He got into it when Tiger and Phil were making their big runs. "When Tiger hit it out of bounds toward the end, I kind of quit watching," he says.
Smith again couldn't sleep much. He drifted in and out, playing poker during the wake time. "My allergies were flaring up, too," he says.
"I spent most of that day just hanging out, not doing much. But on Monday, I figured, 'I'm going on vacation to Monterrey at the end of the week, and I'm going to Thailand to train in early May. I better not get fat.' So I trained a little bit—maybe two hours&mdas;in the middle of the day on Monday."
"I did pretty much the same thing as Monday. Hung out, trained a little, packed a little bit for vacation."
At 11:30 a.m., Smith did an hour-long interview about what happens after a big victory. At 12:30, he had to go. "I'm going golfing this afternoon, and I just got to the course," he says.
Let's just hope certain parts feel better. The backswing can be brutal otherwise.