Flashback: September 21, Mexico City, Mexico, UFC on ESPN+ 17.
The main event of the night featured Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens in a five-round non-title contest in the UFC’s Featherweight ranks.
In the opening moments, however, everything quickly came unglued.
With only 16 seconds having elapsed from the first-round clock, Yair Rodriguez landed an inadvertent eye poke to Jeremy Stephens.
As is protocol in the sport of mixed martial arts, Herb Dean, who officiated the main event of the evening, paused the fight to allow Jeremy Stephens a maximum of five minutes to recover from the eye poke.
The five minutes of recovery time for Stephens came and went, and after sustaining eye spasms as a result of the poke, Stephens could not open the eye.
Herb Dean called off the fight and ruled it a no-contest.
Spectators vented their collective frustration by throwing drinks.
In the aftermath of the no-contest, the UFC was quick to quell any and all remaining frustrations from the fallout.
Last Wednesday, the promotion announced that Yair Rodriguez would fight Jeremy Stephens again in the Oct. 18 UFC on ESPN2 card in Boston at the TD Garden.
It’s the 6th UFC card to air on an ESPN network and the first to have its main card to air on ESPN’s sister station.
Take note: That’s a rare Friday night card for the promotion.
The fight was rebooked to fill the vacancy left by the original co-main event between Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar in the UFC’s Featherweight ranks, which was postponed after the former withdrew from the show.
I have to say that the UFC did the right thing here.
Fans eschewed night games in college football last week to carve out time to watch the main event, and most, if not all of them, were left disappointed by the no-contest.
With this quick reschedule, fans are now likely to stay in on Oct. 18 to watch the rematch.
The only downside to the reschedule is that the pairing is a co-main event and thus will only last three rounds at the most.
So, who do you like in the rematch?
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