The verb fight means to engage in a struggle that involves conflict — and as a noun, fight is the conflict itself. A fight can take a physical form, like a boxing match or a playground skirmish, or it can happen with words, like a fight over politics. The ancient root of fight comes from the Proto-Indo-European prefix pek, meaning “to pluck out.” Picture a hair-pulling fight, and this makes complete sense.
The term is often associated with a sudden traumatic loss of consciousness caused by a physical blow. Single powerful blows to the head (particularly the jawline and temple) can produce a cerebral concussion or a carotid sinus reflex with syncope and cause a sudden, dramatic KO. Body blows, particularly the liver punch, can cause progressive, debilitating pain that can also result in a KO. In boxing and kickboxing, a knockout is usually awarded when one participant falls to the canvas and is unable to rise to their feet within a specified period of time, typically because of exhaustion, pain, disorientation, or unconsciousness. For example, if a boxer is knocked down and is unable to continue the fight within a ten-second count, they are counted as having been knocked out and their opponent is awarded the KO victory. In mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions, no time count is given after a knockdown, as the sport allows submission grappling as well as ground and pound.If a fighter loses consciousness (“goes limp”) as a result of legal strikes it is declared a KO. Even if the fighter loses consciousness for a brief moment and wakes up again to continue to fight, the fight is stopped and declared a KO.