Roy Nelson earned yet another knockout victory in the Octagon on Saturday, but it was what transpired after his victory over Antonio Silva at UFC Fight Night that attracted most of the attention.
“Big Country” set the wheels in motion for his triumph by catching a Silva kick and rocking his foe with a counter uppercut in the second frame. The blow floored “Bigfoot” instantly, but Nelson had to land four or five follow-up punches before the heavyweight bout was halted at the 4:20 mark of the period.
Shortly thereafter, Nelson kicked referee “Big” John McCarthy in the rear as he tended to the fallen Silva, an expression of frustration for what he felt was a late stoppage. Nelson also gave the middle finger to the long-tenured official.
“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.”
Nelson, who said he had words with McCarthy prior to his fight on Saturday, believes the post-fight gesture might have been blown out of proportion. In the past, making contact of any kind with an official has had dire consequences. When Jason High shoved referee Kevin Mulhall following a loss to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night Albuquerque in 2014, he was promptly released from the Las Vegas-based promotion. It is currently unclear what type of punishment Nelson might face from the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission or the UFC, but it is at least partially dependent on whether or not McCarthy elects to file a complaint.
“It was a push to ‘Big John.’ Like dude, come on, he was knocked out. I know what a KO is. I do it for a living,” Nelson said at the post-fight press conference.
“It hurt my feelings. I apologized to ‘Big John,’ but I wouldn’t take it back. It just hurt me that I had to keep hitting the guy.”