People are still talking about last night’s brutal event. Thinking it over and including the Corey Hill fight, I don’t think there’s been such a concentrated dose of MMA violence in one sitting since Ultimate Bareknuckle Fighting 2.
Steve Cofield breaks down the event and points towards fighters, refs, and matchmakers as the ones at fault. But mostly the refs:
I hate to dump on a guy who just had his arm broken but why was Razak Al Hassan given a fight in the UFC? By the looks of it, he might not make the cut in a 32-man field to get on the The Ultimate Fighter. He shouldn’t be in there with someone like Steve Cantwell and he definitely shouldn’t have been fighting on the televised portion of the card. If Al Hassan is not smart or experienced enough to tap then referee Mario Yamasaki had to err on the side of caution. He’s way too experienced to allow that to happen to a fighter.
I suppose this is why people say that reffing ‘is the hardest job in the sport’. No matter what you do, if things get hairy then you’re going to take some of the blame. Stop it early or stop it late, either way you’ll have an army of people questioning your decision.
The big difference last night was that we had a fighter who’s arm got broken backwards in a slow, deliberate armbar. I’m pretty sure when that happens, your performance as a ref in the cage goes from being a matter of opinion to a fact: you done fucked up.
We’ve always picked on Mario Yamasaki for letting shit go on way too long, but up until this point it’s all been in good fun. People eat a couple extra punches to the face or whatever, it’s all good. But last night there was the perfect storm: The matchmakers dumped a fighter in way over his head, the fighter didn’t have to good sense to tap, and the ref waited too long to invervene.
In some people’s opinions, the ref is supposed to be the guy in there that saves the fighters from themselves, so the buck stops with him. While I will agree that he should have stopped the damn fight, I’m still going to split the blame between him and Al-Hassan. Oh, and Jesus Didn’t Tap clothing for perpetuating an environment where tapping is a sin.