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About those stoppages…

Everyone seemed to really enjoy Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night, although there was a decent amount of grumbling going on regarding some of those stoppages. While no one is saying the refs didn’t have justification, a lot of people still felt the fighters should have been given more of a chance to recover and determine their own fate. Michael Huckaby from 5ounces makes a good argument for giving vets the time to sort their shit out before stopping the fight:

Look, no one is asking for a Yoshida/Thompson murder match. Speaking of which that referee still needs to be charged. Just give these guys that have given so much to the sport the respect of making sure they’re out before you say they are prematurely. Look at Herring/Nogueira. That fight could have easily been called after the Herring kick but wasn’t. Had the ref hopped in to save Nog he wouldn’t have gotten the title shot. He wouldn’t be UFC Heavyweight Champion. All because a referee wanted to save him from a situation where he didn’t need to be saved. Think how the entire landscape of MMA would have changed based on that one decision. No discussing if Nog is the best heavyweight. There would be more PRIDE bashing. We’d go from UFC Champion Nog to “guy that couldn’t even beat Heath Herring.”

On the other hand, you have to understand that there’s a huge difference between a conscious fighter taking strikes and a zonked out defenseless fighter taking strikes. When you’re out of it, there’s no protecting yourself … no jerking back, no deflecting the blows. One or two punches to the face when you’re stunned on the canvas can easily result in serious fucking damage.

It’s funny, but I had more of an issue with the Florian/Lauzon stoppage than I did with the Parisyan/Alves stoppage. Karo was out and he was getting punched repeatedly. Sure, he got to his feet and seemed fine after the ref pushed Alves off. But I seriously doubt he would have been able to do that if the ref hadn’t intervened when he did … Alves was teeing off on Karo and would have continued to do so.

On the other hand, Joe Lauzon was conscious and defending himself against Florian. In my opinion, it wasn’t up to the ref to decide when Joe had had enough. So long as Joe wasn’t knocked silly and was intelligently defending himself, it was his right to try and ride out the final minute and a half of that round.

Regardless, it comes down to a single truth: if you don’t want the fight to be stopped, don’t get KO’d in the first place, or don’t get stuck in a bad position. You really can’t rely on a ref to do anything other than err on the side of caution. Part of their job is to make sure the fighters are safe, and if some early stoppages are what it takes in order to ensure guys like Karo and Houston and Joe don’t get hurt badly, then I’ll take it.

  • Mike_N

    I totally agree. If you’re going to err, err on the side of caution. Fighters can always get rematches, but some injuries are permanent.

  • Fightlinker Jackal

    One thing to note is: it does not matter how fast the fighter recovers after the stoppage, this is completely irrelevant. The ref makes the decision based solely on what they see up to the last blow and should be responsible for just that. How is a ref supposed to look into the future and somehow predict a fighter’s recovery? How would everyone feel if Karo dove to the canvas right as the fight was stopped? The Houston and Karo stoppages were 100% fair. Joe wasn’t out, but he was given more than enough time to change things around, and he couldn’t. End of story.

  • Accomando

    I think Joe was waiting for the ref to bail him out.

  • MadMan

    Kenny Florian in full mount is no joke. So, yeah it was
    a good stoppage, but only because Lauzon was not doing anything to change his position.
    Also, it looked to me like Lauzon basically gave up at one point during that onslaught; conceding that he could’nt get out of Forian’s mount.

  • Pug

    I was actually more concerned with the 12 year old who was reffing the Hammil fight than with any of the stoppages. He was up WAY past his bedtime.

  • Captain

    War Adam Martinez!


    I like Huckaby, I’ve had a lot of good conversations with him and usually I agree with him, but I think he’s dead wrong in this particular circumstance. If the ref sees someone, anyone, take a knee to the face and immediately collapse in a heap, the fight should be done. And Karo did collapse in a fucking heap, legs crossed, arms at his sides, chin on his chest. It doesn’t matter how spry he looked thirty seconds later.

  • garth

    frankie’s quite right. the ref did let it go for one or two more punches, but in the replay you can see karo let his head rest on the mat…that’s gotta be the move that got the ref’s attention.

    shoulda fought fitch, Karo.

  • x5BoltMainx

    If you write articles this well when you’re sick, imagine how much better they would be if you were 100% healthy ;)

  • MacDaddy

    I disagree with you guys defending the Florian stoppage (although I’m cool with erring on the side of caution, so ultimately I don’t want to bitch too much)

    When you’re on the ground mounted late in the 2nd round you often need to just cover up, breathe, try to relax so you can store enough energy to try to sweep your opponent or twist out. Florian was not consistently landing damaging blows, and Lauzon was defending quite well considering his disadvantage. If Florian had landed 2 or 3 successive strikes then I would have felt a lot better about it.

  • Method

    I’m pretty sick of seeing threads/posts about stoppages being called too early or too late. Unless it’s a glaring example either way, it’s pretty fucking disrespectful to call it either way. I think all of the fights on the fight night were called well. If he let the fight go for 2 seconds longer in the Alexander vs Irvin fight, the same guy would be writing an article about late stoppages. Stfu and let the ref’s do their job. They are doing it well.

  • godzillad

    UFC needs to put a ban on fighters complaining about stoppages. It puts the announcers in an awkward situation where they have to explain it. Houson, you were out. Karo, you were out. I watched Leben/Sakara again last night, dude was out. Stop fucking complaining. The ref is not gonna go ”You know what? I was WRONG! Restart!” no matter how much you complain (or PUNCH him, in Baroni’s case). Man the fuck up and admit you were unconscious. Dana needs to give them a 50% purse fine and put them on a black list that makes them fight Gleison Tibau/Chris Wilson/Okami/Machida/Jake O’brien.

  • Xavier

    They were both good stoppages. Karo’s stoppage could have came five-ten seconds later, but that fight was over, he wasn’t getting out of that in the next twenty seconds even. And I’m a huge Karo mark, but about ten seconds before that stoppage I said to my wife “Damn, this fight’s over.”

    Lauzon I thought they should have stopped earlier than the ref did. He was not intelligently defending himself and the round wasn’t close to ending.

  • Audacity

    A fighter must be able to intelligently defend themselves at all times. Joe Lauzon wasn’t taking devastating shots, but he was taking them. There was no end in sight, since Joe was making no attempt whatsoever to buck Florian off and improve his position. The round would have ended with Lauzon taking a Shields/Verissimo amount of blows by the end. Basically the ref stops the fight when they can say, “Yeah, this isn’t going anywhere. He’s just going to keep hitting him and that guy’s going to do nothing to stop it.” Joe was covering up really well to his credit, but Randy Couture said it himself that covering your face with your arms is not an intelligent defense.

  • fightlinker

    Seems pretty intelligent to me. Kenny had mounted him and all he could do was rain down punches. If Lauzon was blocking the majority of the punches and those that got through were still deflected enough to lessen the blow, then what do you want? It’s the most intelligent position to take given the situation.

    I miss Big John talking to the fighters, asking them if they’re okay and if they want to continue etc