Another week, another unfortunate bauble for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Last weekend, UFC 247 was beset by some bad judging in its main attraction between Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Jones retained the title that night via unanimous decision, in spite of the fact that he largely trailed in the fight statistically.
Fast-forward seven days and we have our second such bauble in as many weeks.
Make that our second and third such baubles in two weeks.
This past Saturday night’s UFC on ESPN+ 25 in Rio Rancho, NM will go down as the first UFC card in the promotion’s 27-year history to have two fights on it end by disqualification because of an illegal knee.
Both disqualifications due to illegal knees occurred inside this weekend’s main card.
First off, Brok Weaver won by first-round DQ because of an illegal knee delivered by his opponent Kazula Vargas with 58 seconds remaining on the first-round clock in a Lightweight division attraction.
In the co-main event of UFC on ESPN+ 25 on Saturday evening, Diego Sanchez and Michel Pereira fought to the third round in a Welterweight division confrontation, but with one minute and 58 seconds left to go in the contest, Pereira landed the illegal knee, ending the match.
Brok Weaver said after his fight:
“Illegal knee—I don’t care, where I’m from, nothing is illegal. It’s a loss in my book. It was in the heat of the moment, things happen, we can run it back, I told him that.”
As I’ve mentioned previously in opinion pieces for this Website, the role of a referee of a mixed martial arts fight contains multiple responsibilities, one of them being ensuring the fairness of the competition.
Illegal blows, such as the knee strikes that brought a premature end to the two main card fights on Saturday night, can put the safety of the contenders in question.
When the safety of the contenders is in question, it is the referee’s responsibility to pause the fight to ensure whether or not the fight can continue.
The most unfortunate part about both of these fights is that the fighters who were disqualified both led the contests statistically at the point of stoppage.
Vargas led Weaver in total strikes by a 50-6 margin at the point of disqualification.
In the Sanchez vs. Pereira fight, Michel Pereira led Diego Sanchez 56-29 in total strikes when the fight was called.
Just think, if the illegal knees hadn’t been delivered and the fights hadn’t been called, both Pereira and Vargas would have probably won.
Other than the two disqualifications, this was a pretty decent card.
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