Analyst and former Ultimate Fighting Championship title challenger Kenny Florian has criticized the way Yair Rodriguez “incited” the crowd at UFC Mexico City last Saturday after the brief and controversial main event.
The headline bout between Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens was called off after just 15 seconds when Rodriguez struck Stephens’ left eye with his outstretched fingers. The incident forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight and declare a no-contest after the American was unable to continue.
A clearly upset Rodriguez climbed the Octagon fence, gestured and shouted at the crowd and even lashed out at color commentator Michael Bisping who came into the Octagon to interview him after the decision was read, though he apologized to Bisping quickly.
Stephens was peppered with rubbish from the crowd and had to be ushered out by security. The incident could potentially have been defused, according to Florian, who talked about the incident on his Anik & Florian podcast and said Rodriguez’s conduct “was in poor taste” (transcribed via MMANews.com).
“I didn’t like the fact that Yair Rodriguez was kind of insinuating to the crowd in a lot of ways that maybe Jeremy didn’t wanna continue fighting and all that stuff. Which kind of incited the crowd, right? I mean these guys wanted to see a fight. I thought that was in poor taste. I don’t know if he was thinking things through all the way. I think he was frustrated by the situation. And I certainly don’t think he did this intentionally either. I don’t think he tried to scratch his eye intentionally either, obviously.”
“I thought that was in poor taste and even cheering after the fact of getting on top of the Octagon. Dude, it was a 15-second fight. You scratched the guy, the fight was over. What are you cheering for? I don’t know. I was kind of confused by it. He showed a lot of emotions out there, went at Bisping at one point. I thought that the whole thing was just kind of weird.”