It’s been a few days since UFC 210, and the controversy surrounding the ruling that ended the co-main event bout between Gegard Mousasi and Chris Weidman hasn’t subsided.
At least for now, the record book states that Mousasi defeated Weidman via technical knockout 3:13 into the second round of their middleweight clash in Buffalo, N.Y., on April 8. A series of knees landed by Mousasi were initially deemed illegal by referee Dan Miragliotta were determined to be legal during what was believed to be a five-minute recovery period granted to Weidman. Miragliotta appeared to consult with fellow official “Big” John McCarthy during the timeout, at which point Miragliotta was informed that the knees landed by Mousasi were legal. Weidman is in the process of appealing the verdict.
“Dan’s been reffing for 20 years, he’s not part of a new regime or anything. And I think the guy made the right call. Not that it was the right call, in real time he makes a call that I don’t think you can argue with what he did..I think he makes the right call. What transpires after that….that call is the call,” Weidman trainer Ray Longo said on the Anik & Florian Podcast. “You can’t go out and ask people what happened. He makes the call. Joe Rogan says it’s a legal, maybe is that why he switched his mind? Who knows? The call is the call. The guy gets the five minutes. Whether he can continue or can’t continue, you take it step by step. Stick to your call because that’s what it was. That’s it. Whether the knee is legal or illegal is really irrelevant.”
At that point, ringside physicians did not allow Weidman to continue, giving Mousasi the TKO victory. audio later surfaced from a discussion between Longo and Matt Serra that revealing that their fighter thought the month was February when questioned by doctors in the Octagon. However, Longo believes that Weidman would have continued had the action not been halted.
“Because he didn’t go down when he got kneed — he would have kept fighting. Dan stopped it, deemed it an illegal knee and encouraged him to take a break, literally encouraged him, ‘You’ve got five minutes, don’t worry.’ Went over and told Mousasi it was an illegal knee,” Longo said. “That’s the issue. He’s already in a different mindset now. You’re f—-ing with the guy in the middle of a fight.”
While Miragliotta himself didn’t consult instant replay, he was aided in his decision by those outside the cage who did. UFC regulatory head Marc Ratner appeared on the UFC 210 pay-per-view broadcast to say that replay is not used in New York. However, the New York State Athletic Commission has not completely clarified its position on the use of instant replay.
“If he would’ve stopped that action and there’s instant replay in New York and he tells Chris, ‘We’re stopping it and I’ve got to check the cameras to see if that was illegal…’ But there is no instant replay and that’s the problem. Dan, just hold to your decision,” Longo said. “He should have said, ‘I’m the ref, this is my Octagon. I made the call. I don’t really give a s—t on the outside what you’re saying’…stick to your f—ing decision. I want to know who the hell convinced him to change his mind.”
In the past, Mousasi’s knees would have been illegal regardless, but recent changes passed by the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) and some athletic commissions state that a fighter must have two palms on the floor to be considered grounded. Mousasi appeared to lift Weidman’s hand off the mat while landing the knee in question. Still, Longo claims that the new rule does more harm than good.
“Why did they change that rule? You’ve got guys changing rules to satisfy their ego. That rule sucks, I tell you that after witnessing it the other night. You’ve got to put both palms on the floor with a guy over you like that. So you have to put your faith in God that that guy does the right thing and doesn’t knee you in the head,” Longo said. “At least if you have one hand down you could have the other hand come up to protect your head just in case the other guy makes an error. This one they want you to have both palms down. These idiots who made this rule are now putting guys in harm’s way.
“Allow [knees to a grounded fighter] or disallow it, but don’t create confusion.”