Junior Dos Santos lost to Cain Velasquez Saturday night, taking an extended beating in the process. The fight will be long remembered for Cain's relentless attack (think about standing under a waterfall of punches) and for dos Santos' heart. However, and far more importantly, the fight may be remembered as a turning point in the sport - the night when the sport decided that waiting for the end of lack of intelligent defense is not the best criteria for ending a fight early.
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, leaving his defenseless, and Dean stepped in.
The doctor, the ref, the fighter, and the corner all have the ability to stop the fight, and no one did.
UFC president Dana White was cageside shouting for the bout to be ended, but he is not in charge, the state regulatory body is.
"That fight should've been stopped in the third," White said later.
"I'm a guy who's been around the sport for a long time, and boxing, and seen men who are too tough for their own good. And I think Junior Dos Santos is one of those guys, in the last Cain fight and in this Cain fight. And I think that fight should've been stopped. I just don't think he needed to take anymore punishment."
Now Chael Sonnen has weighed in, during a fan Q&A session.
"Junior Dos Santos’ cornerman needs to be cut, period," said Sonnen. "That was beyond inappropriate, that they sent him back out there. The doctor comes in twice, what that doctor was looking for I have no idea. The referee didn’t stop the fight, though he should have. Ultimately it defaults to your cornerman, who you trust, who is like a father figure, and that guy let Junior Dos Santos down, period. The commission licenses these cornermen. I don’t have the foggiest idea why; I guess just to take their $25. That should be the first cornerman that’s suspended, that was beyond wrong what he did."
"You do not stop the fight when your fighter can no longer continue. You stop the fight when your fighter can no longer win. The second your guy can’t win, you get him out of there. That fight should have been stopped way earlier. It knocked years off Junior’s life and career, that cornerman should be fired."
For his part, dos Santos thought the fight was stopped in the second, and fought on autopilot thereafter.
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