Junior Dos Santos lost to Cain Velasquez Saturday night, taking an extended beating in the process. Many times the cageside doctors checked on JDS, twice at the direction of referee Herb Dean, and allowed the fight to go on. In the third round, Dean came as close as humanly possible to stopping it, even putting his hands on the fighters, but by the most razor thin margin imaginable, he let it go on.
In the fifth round JDS secured a Ninja choke, and it appeared that the greatest comeback in the sport's history might happen. But then dos Santos got dropped on his head, and Dean stepped in.
UFC president Dana White was cageside shouting for the bout to be ended, but he is not in charge, the state regulatory body is.
The doctor, the ref, and the corner all have the ability to stop the fight, and no one did. In fact, in an interview with MMAFighting's Guilherme Cruz, Yuri Carlton, dos Santos’ jiu-jitsu coach, said he never even considered it.
"To be honest, I never considered throwing in the towel," said Carlton. "If something like that ever happens, Luiz Carlos Dorea (boxing coach) would be the one to decide. I was hoping for the knockout all the time. In the fifth round, 'Cigano’ went for that choke. Anything can happen. We see a guy lose the whole fight and then win in the last round. It happens all the time. We're not impressed by blood or anything like that, neither is ‘Cigano’. He always fights for the win, no matter what.
"He always tries that submission in the gym, and he submits a lot of sparring partners here with it. He went for it automatically. Cain Velasquez rolled to defend and ‘Cigano’ felt with his face on the ground and couldn’t fight anymore. But even if he didn’t hit his head on the ground he wouldn’t win anyway, it wouldn’t change the fight. He was already beat. We hoped he could land a good punch even if he was completely tired, but it didn’t happen."
"After the second round, he was fighting in the autopilot mode but he didn’t tell me he thought he lost in the second round. But that’s normal. Sometimes you go out with a punch or a good elbow but keep fighting automatically. That’s normal."
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We don't want a sport where it is normal for fighters to get beat up while in a concussive state, as the long term health implications are tragic. Corners need to weigh short time gain against long term risk and throw the towel in more often.
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