Dustin Poirier feels like he was on the road to victory against Eddie Alvarez. Now, at the very least, he's looking for something other than a no-contest ruling.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight is planning to appeal the outcome of his UFC 211 bout with Alvarez, which was deemed a no contest after Alvarez landed a series of illegal knees late in the second round. Poirier's manager Robert Roveta confirmed Poirier's plans to appeal to MMAFighting.com on Sunday.
At UFC 211 in Dallas, Texas on May 13, Poirier was in command early against the former UFC champion Alvarez, battering him with strikes throughout the first round. Round two morphed into a wild, winging brawl between the two 155-pounders but ended unceremoniously when Alvarez grabbed a front headlock along the cage and delivered several knees to a grounded Poirier. Poirier was unable to continue and referee Herb Dean called the bout a no contest at 4:12 of the second stanza.
“I thought I had Dustin hurt and I thought he was a little tired. The first knee, I thought he was playing the game where he had his hand down,” Alvarez said after the bout. “Herb [Dean] was very clear about you can’t play the game, so I hurt him with the first one, I think the second one may have been legal, but the third knee was illegal. I saw it on the prompter afterwards that it was illegal and I apologize to Dustin.”
Much of the controversy stems from the interpretation of the grounded opponent rule, which was changed in the provisions of the Unified Rules of MMA last year by the Association of Boxing Commissions. However, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations has not adopted the knee the rules, further muddying a rule that is largely left to be interpreted by referees in the first place.
Under the revised rules, a combatant must have both hands, or another point of contact other than the soles of the feet, on the mat to be considered “grounded.” This rule was changed to attempt to alleviate the consequences of fighters placing one finger on the mat to make themselves a grounded combatant, seeking to either stymie their foes or beguile their opponents into fouling them.
The third knee landed by Alvarez in the sequence came with Poirier's knee on the mat, prohibited under both versions of the Unified Rules, leading many, including UFC President Dana White, to opine that the bout should've been a disqualification win for Poirier.
The Alvarez-Poirier situation comes just five weeks after UFC 210 in Buffalo, New York, where Gegard Mousasi took a controversial TKO stoppage over former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the second round after Weidman and referee Dan Miragliotta initially believed he was a series of knees from Mousasi, only for Miragliotta to consult with ringside officials who told them they were legal strikes, giving Mousasi the win.