Sunday, December 04, 2016

These things happen in mixed martial arts.

It began when Jake Ellenberger threw a right knee at Jorge Masvidal. He may have slipped or was perhaps trying to execute a jump knee, but his left, trail leg slid across the canvas and as his weight came down on it, it wedged between the mat and the bottom fence pole.

Now seated, with near, left leg firmly stuck, Ellenberger appeared to stop fighting completely, as all of his attention was focused on getting his foot unstuck. He was not at first glance intelligently defending himself. In retrospect, it may be that the most intelligent way to continue fighting was to get the leg freed, but in the moment, it appeared as if he had stopped fighting, and was instead attending solely to his foot. Further, it was not immediately clear that the foot was stuck rather than injured.

Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight. When a fighter is not reasonably defending himself, that is the right call. Dean then checked with officials to see whether this could be classified as defective equipment, and when he was told it could not, he declared Masvidal the winner at 4:05 of Round 1.

In the FOX Sports 1 post-fight interview, Ellenberger explained what happened from his perspective, and said he plans to appeal.

“It was very bizarre,” he said accurately, as transcribed by Adam Guillen Jr. for MMA Mania. “My foot got caught in the fence and I assumed it would be restarted. At least that’s how I understood it. I could defend myself because my mind was clear and I assumed he would restart it. But then they told me it’s over, so I have no idea.

“They tell me [the caught toe] is partially dislocated. I turned and my foot stayed there in the fence. It was weird, it happened fast.”

“But, like I said, I assumed they would restart the fight but they told me it was over. We keep moving forward, that’s all we can do. Appeal and hopefully it gets turned into a no contest.”

The appeal is highly unlikely to succeed because, however understandably, Ellenberger was not, in fact, intelligently trying to defend himself. Although this has never happened in the UFC before, the Octagon design should be tweaked so that it cannot happen again

Although this has never happened in the UFC before, the Octagon design should be tweaked so that it cannot happen again. Equipment failures are relatively common in regional shows, but rinky dink accidents are not supposed to happen in the UFC.