The biggest bit of drama coming out of UFC 154 was Patrick Cote ‘winning’ his fight against Alessio Sakara after receiving nearly a dozen blows to the back of his head. Here’s Dana White’s thoughts on the situation:
“(The stoppage was) way late. I haven’t heard anything about (Cote) that he’s not okay but that was a horrible job. I counted between seven and nine illegal punches to the back of the head. It was crazy. He was just standing there watching it. Didn’t jump in, didn’t do anything. And I’m pretty sure, I think it should have been a no contest, not awarded to Cote, but a no contest. But, horrible, really bad.”
The temptation to hang Dan Miragliotta from a cross by his big orange arms is strong, but I kinda feel for him on this one a bit too. Sakara had just knocked Cote down and the end of the fight was imminent. It’s easy for us to watch the slow mo replay and say he should have done something, but fucking with the end of a fight is something most refs will try to avoid if they can help it. Just ask Steve Mazzagatti what happens when you do step in. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But if you’re damned either way, you might as well be damned for erring on the side of fighter safety.
Meanwhile in fantasy land, Alessio Sakara’s manager doesn’t even think his client hit Cote on the back of the head:
“We’re going to be appealing the decision. I’ve already spoken to the commissioner. There was no verbal warning given. At no point did [the ref] try to intervene. When you stop it, you stop the fight. The blows that were allegedly behind the back of the head… when Alessio was making his blows he wasn’t going 12 to 6, he was coming around to get to the side of the head. If you watch the tape I think it would clearly show that. To create a judgement in Montreal for Patrick Cote … when I spoke to the Commissioner they said listen, we viewed it and that’s the way we see it. Not very objective at all.”
You don’t have to watch the video all that long to see that yes, these were indeed textbook blows to the back of the head. Say what you will about the ref fucking things up (we’re all in agreement there) or the silliness of Cote being deemed the winner of that bout (up there with Hamill’s ‘victory’ over Jon Jones), but don’t pretend like your guy didn’t pummel the back of his opponent’s head. That’s not very objective at all.