By Ryan Knuppel
Last Saturday night, the UFC returned to the “so-called” great state of New York for UFC 210. The co-main event ended with extreme controversy revolving around the stoppage of the fight. Midway through the second round of the fight, Gegard Mousasi had Chris Weidman in a bad spot and began to grapple with him in attempts to land a knee strike to the head.
NYSAC just adopted the new ABC Unified Rule changes that passed several months back. The past two MMA events held in New York, were under the old system but this event was the first one held in NY under the new rule system.
With the old rules, a fighter was considered down if he had 3 parts down on the canvas, meaning 2 feet and a hand would be considered a downed opponent and the fighter could not deliver a knee strike or kick to the head. With the new rules, a fighter is ONLY considered a downed opponent if he has both feet and both hands on the canvas.
In this situation, Chris Weidman placed both of his hands on the canvas to prevent Mousasi from striking him with a knee to the head. We all know, that this is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but Mousasi countered it by grabbing Weidman with under hooks and lifting upwards while delivering the knee.
Referee Dan Miragliotta immediately stepped in and stopped the fight, calling foul on Mousasi because it appeared that both hands were down. Miragliotta advised Weidman that he had 5 minutes to recover before restarting the fight. Weidman sat on the canvas floor and Miragliotta called in the doctors to check Weidman out.
While the doctors were checking him out, Miragliotta spoke with senior referee John McCarthy and McCarthy advised him that on the instant replay, it showed that Weidman only had 1 hand down on the ground, which would mean there was no foul. The referee then instantly stopped the fight, awarding the fight to Gegard Mousasi.
Now, let me just say this, Weidman was rocked and was looking for a way out of the fight….BUT….that still doesn’t make it right. Weidman has been in bad spots before and has recovered and had the referee not stepped in to call the foul on Mousasi, Weidman may have been able to grapple Mousasi back to the canvas and change the flow of the fight. But that was impossible because the ref stepped in and stopped the fight, off what he believed was a foul on Mousasi.
Now, here is the real kicker…...NYSAC does NOT have instant replay! There are only a handful of states that actually use instant replay and New York is NOT one of them, so how can they allow another referee to watch the fight, then tell the referee inside the cage, that the call was wrong. I’m not much of a conspiracy theory guy, but things don’t look good for the NYSAC.
Weidman started out as a +130 wager, but as the week went on, his odds dropped to -110 all the way down to -150 depending on the sportsbook that you play at. As many of you are aware, when the line drops like that, it usually means that heavy money is going to one side, in this case on Chris Weidman.
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Now, with the way this fight ended, how can there not be more of an emphasis put on how this fight wasn’t considered a no contest. If they would have ruled the fight a no contest, bettors wouldn’t have lost money and Weidman wouldn’t have a loss on his record.
The New York State Athletic Commission has since released a statement stating that they can use instant replay because, in their rules and regulations, it doesn’t forbid them from using it? That response from the NYSAC is about as lame of a statement as I’ve ever heard. MMA in New York is still very new but things like this CANNOT happen or gamblers will avoid fights in New York due to fear of the commission.