At UFC on ESPN+ 35 this past weekend, Ed Herman won a controversial bout against opponent Mike Rodriguez. Rodriguez landed two clean strikes to the body causing Herman to crumble and being unable to continue for a considerable period of time. Referee Chris Tognoni mistakenly called the second body shot a low blow, but instant replay makes it clear that it was not.
Herman, after taking advantage of much of the recovery time permitted for low blows, recovered and continued going on to victory via submission in the following round.
During the bout, a narrative developed that instant replay was not available as this was not a fight-ending sequence. While Nevada’s instant replay rule used to be limited to such circumstances that is no longer the case. Specifically, NAC 467.682(5) was added expanding the ability of instant replay from “the conclusion of a contest or exhibition stopped immediately because of an injury” to “any time” reading as follows:
“The referee may, at any time during a contest or exhibition, call a time-out to consult with officials of the Commission or to view replay footage.”
Here is a pretty clear example of a fighter losing a bout, when correctly he should have won via KO or TKO.
This is a case where replay could have been used but the referee did not use his discretion to do so. This is something Rodriguez’s corner should have implored the referee to do during the bout. It is perhaps the most effective tool to overturn a wrong decision in realtime, and one that fighters and their corners should be aware of when competing in Nevada. Without a realtime decision to use replay, overturning this loss becomes difficult under Nevada’s extremely limited appeal rights which only allow a change of decision where:
1. The Commission determines that there was collusion affecting the result of the contest or exhibition;
2. The compilation of the scorecards of the judges discloses an error which shows that the decision was given to the wrong unarmed combatant; or
3. As the result of an error in interpreting a provision of this chapter, the referee has rendered an incorrect decision.