Kid Nate at Bloody Elbow craps on Mario Yamasaki for adding to the suck that was Melendez vs Aoki:
Referee Mario Yamasaki’s restarts when Aoki was crabwalking forward really pissed me off. The purpose of the stand up rule is to force the action and reduce stalling, not dictate to the fighters what kind of action will be allowed. The crabwalk that Aoki was doing is an offensive move that he’s frequently shown in Japan can be used to land kicks and take downs. Melendez was prepared to answer that attack with diving punches of his own — as was seen right before the most ridiculous stand up of the fight. As an old school fan of MMA who’s come to accept most of the rules that have been imposed in the interest of entertainment, I was sorely disappointed to see Yamasaki blatantly dictating the outcome of the match and dooming fans to a long ugly fight once he robbed Aoki of his last offensive move.
I have no doubt Yamasaki was trying to keep the fight from devolving into a total butt scoot spectacle lacking only a Benny Hill sountrack, but his actions were premature at best and fight-changing at worst. Why he thought that was an appropriate tack to take considering this was a title fight involving possibly the best ground fighter in the sport is beyond me, but on a detached nationalistic level, now a Japanese fighter knows what it’s like to have a referee who seems to be actively working against you.
(pic via Sherdog’s Strikeforce: Nashville gallery)