UFC President Dana White wasn’t pleased that Roy Nelson made physical contact with referee John McCarthy following his knockout victory over Antonio Silva this past Saturday.
“Big Country” caught a Silva kick and floored his opponent with a counter uppercut in the second frame of their heavyweight bout at UFC Fight Night Brasilia. Nelson then landed four or five follow up punches before McCarthy halted the contest at the 4:20 mark. In the aftermath, Nelson pushed McCarthy in the rear with his foot and gave the veteran official the middle finger.
“I had John in my last fight. We talked about what’s considered damage. He doesn’t know what’s going on in MMA,” Nelson said on Fox Sports 1. “That’s why when I actually, when I knew I hit a home run with ‘Bigfoot,’ I already knew he was out. I could have done the Mark Hunt and walk away and then hopefully he might stop it.
“But I stood over him, waited, waited, waited, and then I started throwing bombs and he let me throw just clean punches. Bigfoot’s my friend, I know he has a family to go to.”
According to White, Nelson’s explanation for his reaction -- and subsequent apology -- did not justify his actions (live odds).
“You can’t apologize for that. You don’t ever, ever put your f---ing hands on a referee -- or your feet -- for any reason what so f---ing ever,” White said on the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast. “You don’t do it. He needs to be buried. He went over there and he put his foot on his ass to like, push him over. He was flipping him off and yelling whatever. You want to flip a ref off [OK],[but] there is never a situation where you put your fucking hands on a referee, ever.”
A similar instance occurred in the Octagon at UFC Fight Night Albuquerque in June 2014, when Jason High shoved referee Kevin Mulhall following a stoppage loss to Rafael dos Anjos. High was released from the Las Vegas-based promotion a few days later.
“What I did find out is that I guess that Jason High kid got up and pushed a referee. He's cut," White said at the time. "I'm going to cut him. I look at that the way [Paul] Daley put his hands on his opponent after a fight was over. You don't ever, ever f-----g touch a referee, ever. You're done here. He's been apologizing on Twitter, but he's done."
For now, it doesn’t appear that Nelson will be out of a job in the UFC, however. Instead, White will defer to the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) to take action against one of the promotion’s most recognizable heavyweights.
“We’ll see how the athletic commission handles that, but he needs to be buried for that,” White said. “I’ve been traveling since the fight, so I haven’t seen what’s gone on. If the Brazilian Athletic Commission doesn’t rain on him, it’s not good. You don’t ever put your hands on a referee, I don’t care what the circumstances are. We don’t always agree with them -- we have our favorites, we have our least favorites -- the guy, whatever you feel about him, they’re there to keep you safe.
“This guy [Nelson] is the judge of when a fight should or shouldn’t be stopped? You’re a fighter; you go until the referee tells you to stop. John McCarthy is very qualified in what he does. He’s been here a lot longer than f---ing Roy Nelson. And for Roy Nelson to go over and put his f---ing hands on a referee, it can’t happen. “
According to a report from MMAFighting.com, the Nelson case will be handled by CABMMA’s recently-formed Superior Justice Court of Sport, which has seven days to file a complaint against Nelson.
“John is sitting there on his knees tending to ‘Bigfoot’ and you come up behind him and kick him? It’s despicable, it’s disgusting, it can never happen ever again,” White said.