How Long Does Someone Stay Unconscious After Being Choked Out? (It’s Not like the Movies)

In any type of boxing or martial arts, the aim is for a knockout to secure the win from the match. One way to do this is by choking out your opponent in MMA where it is allowed to do so.

You see it regularly in UFC where they have knockout by a chokehold but how long does the effect of the choke last? 

How Long Does Someone Stay Unconscious After Being Choked Out?

This guide will be going through how fighters perform a choke hold and send people to sleep.

This will also cover the dangers of this move and how long the lack of consciousness can last and can it also have a long lasting effect on the opponents.

What Are The Dangers? 

When referring to BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) it has become a very popular type of material arts over the past ten years. It is used to stop and neutralize bigger opponents and stop them in their tracks.

This is also very competitive which is why a lot of people are drawn to it and working on the ground is a great source of exercise.

These types of chokes can be very dangerous for the opponent depending on how long the choke lasts for and if it continues after the person is unconscious.

If someone holds the choke hold longer than needed, it could lead to permanent damage due to the cut off of oxygen to the brain or even a death. 

When carrying out these kinds of moves, they need to be performed only in training or events and not just for fun because this is the most likely situation to cause someone harm.

Psychological Effects

When carrying out a choke hold you are mainly focusing on the neck area which is where some of the main arteries are.

Due to the pressure of the move, it can compress these articles stopping the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. In the sport, this can happen very quickly where the supply is cut off instantly causing unconsciousness.

However, the brain needs that blood supply and oxygen to be able to function which is why it is so dangerous. If the brain does not receive enough oxygen and blood then it can start to shut down in ways and might have permanent issues if you do wake up. 

When there are longer periods where the brain does not get a supply of oxygen, the cells do begin to die which can cause major brain damage. This also links to the heart as well because the brain sends signals.

In most cases these choke holds only last a few seconds but if people were to carry this out inappropriately, they might cause some major damage because they are not in a responsible situation where people know what they are doing. 

How Long Do People Usually Stay Unconscious For? 

As mentioned previously, it all depends on how long the choke hold is carried out for. If only a few seconds then the amount of unconscious time will only be a few seconds.

However, if someone is to be choked out after they are unconscious the time could be longer and also have those long lasting effects.

This also comes down to what type of level you are at because a more professional fighter is able to withstand more than someone just starting out. 

In fighting, there are rules and regulations which prevent dangers like these happening when choking someone out. If it ranges between 8-10 seconds then you are likely to only be unconscious for a short time.

However, if the blood supply is cut off from the brain for 4-6 minutes then this can lead to major brain damage and long lasting injuries. 

Other Mental Effects?

For a very short period of time you might also experience different types of hallucinations where you are basically dreaming or after you wake up you might still be dazed because the blood will be returning back to your head.

This is also quite a few people who say that they see things when they are unconscious that feel real but actually aren’t. Those 10 seconds unconscious will also seem like a lot longer and you won’t know how long you have been out for.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does A Sleeper Choke Last?

Unless you’re actively being attacked, release your choke hold after 10 seconds. 15 seconds is the maximum amount of time that you can apply pressure to the neck without risking permanent damage.

If you’ve correctly applied pressure to the neck’s major arteries, your opponent should go limp after 5-9 seconds.

What Happens When You Get Choked Unconscious?

This causes a dramatic decrease in blood flow especially to regions above the heart (e.g. the brain) due the need of a high pressure to flow against gravity which in turn results in less blood flow to the brain brain ischemia, which then causes loss of consciousness.


Overall, it is very important that if anyone is trying to carry out a choke hold, they need to be in a safe environment with people who are professional at coaching or sport.

People need to understand the effect of holding too long or carrying on choking and not realizing the person is already unconscious because that can have really bad effects for the opponent’s brain and neck. 

Hopefully this guide has given you more of an insight all about choking people out in sport and how it is dangerous in any other scenario – especially drunk or for ‘’fun’’.

This is a move that is meant for sport and before trying this, you need to make sure that you know all of the dangers and effects beforehand. However, if you are looking to become a fighter, this would be a great move to learn for tallying up the KO’s.

Christopher Anderson
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