Tuesday, November 14, 2017

On the UFC 217 Fight Pass prelims, heavyweight Curtis Blaydes was beating Aleksei Oleinik when he launched a soccer kick at his grounded opponent. The kick made contact, flicking Oleinik’s ear. Referee Blake Grice stopped the action and called in the doctor; it was determined that Oleinik did not want to continue, and the fight was called off.

Grice stopped the fight because of an intentional foul that made a degree of contact. So who wins? Grice discussed the situation with officials who had the benefit of instant replay and the right call was made – Blaydes was the winner due to doctor stoppage.

During a recent appearance on MMAjunkie Radio, the Dean of MMA Referees, ‘Big’ John McCarthy explained why the call was correct.

“Blaydes did something that was illegal,” said McCarthy, as transcribed by Fernanda Prates for MMAjunkie. “He threw a kick and he did touch the ear of Alexi Oleinik. Blake Grice comes in, he calls a stop to the action. When he calls a stop to the action, he separates the fighters – he does exactly what he’s supposed to do.”

“So what was he damaged by? Was he damaged by a foul or was he damaged by legal blows? Well, he was damaged by legal blows. All of the blows that hurt him and made it to where the doctors are now saying, ‘He is unable to continue’ were all done legally in that fight.

“What stopped the fight was an illegal action by Blaydes. He ends up throwing a kick. Did the kick touch Alexei? Yes, it did. It touched his ear. Did it have any effect? Did it hurt him? No. It had no effect on any of the damage he had occurred. ”

“(The referee) says, ‘Yes, there was a foul. And if the fighter can go on, I may take a point for that foul. But I can’t take a point because the fight is not going on.’ And I can’t go to the judges’ scorecards based on the round that this is in.

“So I can now determine that this is either a no-contest, or I have a disqualification, or I can say that because the doctors say that the fight can’t go and that was caused by legal blow, this is a TKO victory by Blaydes.”

Another potential point of contention was the Grice appearing to confer with Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner. Although Ratner is one of the most highly regarded individuals in regulation history, he currently works for the UFC, so could potentially show bias in his judgments.

“What occurred was, Blake asked for instant replay,” explained McCarthy. “And the commission has a monitor, but they couldn’t get the replay up on the monitor. So Marc took and swung his monitor around, said, ‘Here it is.’ And let them view his monitor.

“If you look, Marc’s not giving him any information. He’s got Dan Miragliotta there and he watches the replay on that monitor that is Marc’s monitor.”

In 2016 New York became the final state or province in North America to allow mixed martial arts. The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) was able to fully regulate events by September of 2016, and the very next month UFC 205 sold out Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, the new commission subsequently suffered several gaffes.

For example, at UFC 210 the main event, co-main, and third-from-final fight each was regulated less than ideally. Daniel Cormier used an ancient high school wrestling trick to make weight. Gegard Mousasi vs. Chris Weidman had a confused finish. And Pearl Gonzalez was removed and then reinstated from a fight with Cynthia Calvillo over breast implants.

However, now Kim Sumbler has been appointed as the new NYSAC executive director, and things are brighter.

Makes you wonder what would have happened had Sumbler’s NYSAC been regulating Jon Jones vs. Matt Hamill.