If it seemed like the UFC on Fox 23 co-main event between Jorge Masvidal and Donald Cerrone should have been stopped at the end of the first round, it’s because it probably should have been.
Masvidal had Cerrone reeling with a flurry of punches late in the frame, and “Cowboy” appeared to be done when referee Herb Dean stepped in to halt the assault before the period ended. However, instead of awarding a TKO victory to Masvidal, Dean presumably thought the round ended and announced that the fight would continue.
“I pick up the phone and call production and said, ‘Was it the end of the round?’ It wasn’t. It wasn’t the end of the round. He stopped it early,” UFC President Dana White said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “It was so loud in that arena; I didn’t hear it either. It is what it is. Mistakes are gonna happen.”
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Masvidal agreed with White regarding Dean’s ruling.
“What was weird when Herb pulled me it’s only a second. Another second lands me more punches. That second he pulls me off, and then the bell rings,” Masvidal said. “You can see it on the replay. Hats off to Cowboy for even getting up. I looked into his soul, and he wasn’t there.”
Masvidal didn’t need long to finish what he started in the second stanza. “Gamebred” dropped Cerrone with a counter on a body kick and then sealed the victory with a series of left hands to the body and head just 60 seconds into the period. With that, Cerrone’s four-fight winning streak at 170 pounds reached a sudden end, while Masvidal, who has now won three straight, looks like a person of interest in the division.
“I hate when Cowboy does this, he’s got four wins at welterweight, and he wants to fight back-to-back. Masvidal never pulls the trigger. He’s incredibly talented, if he fights like this all the time he’s gonna be a world champion,” White said.
Masvidal hinted that he is only looking for big-money fights and even volunteered to beat $200,000 of his own money against White for his next bout.
“The bigger the fight, the better,” he said. “The more I train, the more I prepare. If they give me some pretender or actor, I might not take it.”