Dana White discusses Clark vs. Alpar officiating

At UFC on ESPN+ 35, Mike Rodriguez kneed Ed Herman in the liver, and the effect was such that after another shot to the body, Herman dropped to the ground, seemingly unable to continue. Referee Chris Tognoni believed for unknown reasons that there had been a low blow, and stopped the action, allowing “Short Fuse” time to recover, and eventually make one of the most astonishing, if tainted, comebacks in memory.

That earned UFC president Dana White worst officials curse – he called Tognoni a M****gatti.

At UFC on ESPN+ 36, it appeared as if Tognoni had done it again. Jessica-Rose Clark kneed Sarah Alpar in the face as “Too Sweet” was falling backwards, and Tognoni halted the action. Bruce Buffer enter the Octagon and a degree of confusion reigned.

Then Tognoni cleared the Octagon and restarted the bout; it ended shortly afterward in Clark’s favor.

The Nevada Athletic Commission released a statement of explanation to TSN reporter Aaron Bronsteter.

“It was a legal strike. They paused the fight because they thought it was a knee to a grounded opponent. They went to the replay and confirmed that it was a legal strike. The fight was never officially stopped. Sarah Alpar was asked if she could continue and she wanted to continue, she said, ‘Yes.’ Under NAC rules, the bout can continue after the replay since the fight was only temporarily paused and never officially stopped.”

At the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White voice displeasure with what happened.

“It’s a horrible situation,” said White. “Fight should’ve been over. That fight should’ve been over just like last week. She got finished. She got stopped. If you have to jump in and look at her and do anything – her nose was broken. That was a finish. That should’ve been a finish. I know Marc Ratner is all over this. It’s just something that needs to be worked out. When you get stopped, and these kids are so tough and durable. That poor little girl fought her ass off again after she was able to continue. This just needs to be fixed. They gotta figure this out.”

“I’m in favor of whatever’s gonna be fair. If someone won a fight, like last week should’ve been stopped. Thank God she didn’t turn around and lose the fight this week. It’s just crazy.”

The incident is one in an endless series illustrating how impossibly difficult it is to balance a fighter’s livelihood and health in a hurting game. Was the knee sufficient and in and of itself to end the fight? Tognoni thought not, and only paused the fight to make sure it was not illegal. He thought Alpar remained capable of intelligently defending herself, and wanted to give her that opportunity, as he is obligated to. When it was determined that the blow was legal, he let her fight on, as she wanted to.

h/t Mike Bohn and John Morgan for MMAjunkie

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