Personally, I thought it stupid for Kirk to get wrapped up in it. Sure, he doesn't want to lose his first officer (thinking Stonn would kill him), but then to have his first officer kill him? Fight to the death. And if he gets lucky and wins? Either way he loses. ILLOGICAL. But McCoy saved the day, slipping him a neural paralyzer. Knocked him out, simulated death. Even still, Kirk could have started to lose consciousness at the wrong moment and then Spock would have decapitated him once his guard was down. And no, the neural paralyzer wasn't a Kirk/Bones collaboration--no dialog to support it. He was on a path of losing either way. Really stupid.
I can't stand this episode and never watch it, although if forced I'd pick this one over "And The Children Shall Lead."