Bigfoot Silva objects to 'early' stoppage, believes referees should be penalized for bad calls

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS -- Immediately upon being released from Cain Velasquez's iron grip of doom, Antonio Silva shook his head. Of course, part of that was frustration after being routed by Velasquez yet again. But there was more to it than that.

In his mind, Velasquez's strong performance was supplemented by a referee who failed to properly officiate the UFC 160 headliner.

In his mind, there were still unanswered questions.

"I do agree the fight was stopped too early," Silva said in the event's post-fight press conference. "My way of thinking is that the same that applies to athletes who are penalized when they do something wrong or illegal, should also apply to referees when they do something wrong. They, too, should be penalized.

"I don't want to say too much, I'd rather you each just watch the fight's playback," he continued. "It's clear watching it that I took several illegal blows to the back of my neck. The referee explained to me that the first illegal blow should be a warning that should be issued. The second should be penalized on points. In seeing the playback, you can see that I took several illegal blows to the back of my neck."

Almost as if to accentuate his point, Silva had arrived at the press conference holding an ice pack to the back of his neck.

The finishing sequence began as the duo came forward simultaneously. While Silva wound up for an uppercut, Velasquez slammed out an overhand right that caught the challenger in the jaw and dropped him to a knee.

Silva shot his arms forward as if to try for a takedown, but Velasquez easily pivoted to the challenger's back. With Silva on all fours, Velasquez threw a series of right hands. Silva attempted to cover the side of his head with his hand and elbow while trying to get back to his feet. That led to a situation where his head was a moving target. But Velasquez continued to wear him down. All counted, he threw 11 strikes until referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in to stop it.


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UFC president Dana White didn't have an outright objection to Yamasaki's decision, but agreed with Silva's idea of holding the referees accountable through some sort of punitive action. Such a penalty would fall under the jurisdiction of the athletic commission regulating the bout and assigning the referees. In this case, it would be the Nevada state athletic commission.

"I love the idea of penalizing referees. That would be awesome," White said to applause from some of the fighter camps that were present at the post-fight press conference room. "That's the best Idea I've heard in a long time. I've seen worse stoppages. The problem is when Bigfoot went down -- when he got rocked with that big shot -- he covers up. And if you're not intelligently defending yourself, the ref is going to jump in in and stop the fight.

"We can talk refs all day," he continued. "It was Yamasaki, right? The smallest ref on the planet referreeing the two biggest guys on planet? Anytime it's a big meaningful belt, all the money's on the line, the belt's on the line, I'd like to see guys like Herb Dean in there. Herb Dean nine out of 10 times does the right thing, makes the right call. He's a real educated referee that knows about fighting, and he's made 1,000 more good calls than bad calls. It's one of these things things where these guys -- their lives, their livelihood, their legacy. This isn’t baseball, there aren't 300 games a season. These guys live fight by fight. You have to have the right people in there. And when you have a guy this freaking tall reffing two giant monsters, it just makes no sense. There's no common sense in that at all."

Meanwhile, Velasquez, who will next move towards a trilogy fight with rival Junior dos Santos, had no reaction to the complaint, saying he tried to stick to the referee's instructions.

Silva did not say if he would officially appeal the decision, but such pleas have rarely been successful in the past.

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