In his UFC debut at UFC 134 in Rio, it took Welterweight Erick Silva 40 seconds to knock out opponent Luis Ramos Do Nascimento. Four and a half months later he came back and did it again, knocking out Carlo Prater in even less time.
However, referee Mario Yamasaki determined that Silva threw illegal strikes to the back of the head, and disqualified Silva, awarding the bout to Prater.
A replay - not available to Yamasaki - appeared to show strikes that could have been legal depending upon the the definition of "back of the head" in use.
The back of the head can be defined as a "Mohaw/Cell phone" prohibited zone - start at the top of the crown, and slide a cell phone down the back of the head. That area, roughly one inch on either side of an imaginary line down the back of the head, is off limits. The "Headphones" standard is another - strikes are prohibited to any location that would be behind a pair of headphones worn on the head.
In 2009 the Asociation of Boxing Comissions adopted a definition of back of the head that combines both standards. The new rule uses the mohawk definition towards the top of the head, and widens the prohibited striking area towards the base of the neck. The new rule can be summed up pretty simply - if you are hitting the back of the head, at least part of your glove has to be touching his ear.
There is a further sometimes complication consideration - the opponent has a responsibility to not turn the back of his head into an incoming strike that would otherwise have landed legally.
UFC commentator Joe Rogan questioned the call publicly in the cage; many fans thought he over stepped his bounds in doing so. Rogan later explained himself on The Underground to what seemed to be everyone's satisfaction.
Ultimately, Marc Ratner, former Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and current Vice President of Regulatory Affairs with the UFC determined that Yamasaki's decision would stand.
The matter appeared to be settled, but in an interview with Brazilian media giant OGlobo, Prater expressed outrage at Rogan's quesstioning of the call.
"I think in the end I was made out as a villain," Prater said. "I wasnt laying on the Octagon for nothing after the fight. I want that to be clear. I had to stay in the hospital until monday. (The UFC) asked me not to go public because, indeed, that wouldnt do any good for me or Eric. IMO, Mario did the right thing. It's been a long time since rules have been implemented. You are not allowed to do anything you want inside the cage. Watching the fight video i could see at least 9 blows to the back of the head."
"I think the way Joe Rogan behaved was completely unethical. He went with the crowd. A real professional doesnt do that. He was acting like a fan when he should be acting as a broadcaster. Mario is a million times more competent than him. Hes been living off this for 20 years. Joe Rogan is just a swagger, someone who walks amongst fighters but isn't really a fighter himself. He doesn't understand. Whatever ... human beings make mistakes and i am not going to be holding grudges against him."
"I felt really strong strikes to the back of the neck and my right shoulder. They were really painful shock-like sensations. I was trying to take Erick to the ground on instinct. But i couldnt because it was the worst pain i have ever felt in my life. Like my nerves were in shock. I was really scared, I though i had torn something"
Read entire article... (original Portuguese)
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