The liver is the largest gland organ and a center of blood circulation, and when it is hit properly, the result is pain and paralysis. The paralysis is both physical and mental -the body cannot move properly, and the mind shuts down to some extent, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness.
Saturday night at UFC 170, UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey landed a knee to the liver of challenger Sara McMann, who dropped to the ground, and could not move her hands even to protect herself. Referee Herb Dean stepped in and stopped the fight immediately, as he is instructed to do by the Unified Rules. If a fighter cannot intelligently defend herself or himself, and there is an element of danger, then the ref has to stop the fight.
The crowd booed loudly, and many did the digital equivalent online, but no one of them had even been dropped with a liver shot. If they had, they would have understood.
At the post fight press conference, UFC president Dana White, Ronda Rousey, and Sara McMann were all asked about the stoppage.
“I didn’t think it was too soon,” said Rousey as transcribed by MMAJunkie. “I’d have kept going if someone didn’t stop me. But it’s not my decision. That’s why they have a referee in there to make sure no one gets hurt more than they need to.
“I promised my coach this time that I was going to drop her with a body shot. We called it. We trained it a lot. That was a goal I had in this fight. I don’t like calling it and saying it to the media. But to my coach, I promised him I was really going to try. I’m happy I did that.”
When interviewed in the Octagon by Joe Rogan immediately after the fight, McMann voiced no protest what so ever. After viewing a replay, she expressed some doubt.
“Looking back, it did seem kind of quick on the screen,” said McMann. “Things are kind of slowed down in my head in the cage. I felt it connect, and my body just flew to protect itself. I heard his voice, and I immediately tried to get back up.
“I’m not going to blame a referee for something I feel like I should be able to control. I should get up quicker. If you want to win fights, you just have to do it, regardless of what’s going on.”
White, who is not shy about expressing his feelings about officials, once saying of referee Steve Mazzagatti "This f---ing guy shouldn't even be watching MMA on TV, let alone refereeing it. I think he's the worst ref in the history of any fight business, ever."
And White watched the replay, which quelled any doubts he might have harbored.
“I’ve been in this business a long time," said White. "I’ve seen that happen to Oscar de la Hoya and many other great fighters.You get hit to the body like that, and regular people who have never been hit to the body have no f---ing clue what that feels like.
"Believe me when I tell you that. She went down on her knees and she turned her head the other way. Could Herb have let her take some shots to the face? When the fight happened when I saw it, I said ‘oh man.' then I watched the replay and I thought it was a good stoppage."