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Steve Mazzagatti Deserves Credit for Stopping James Irvin-Houston Alexander UFC Fight

At Wednesday's UFC Fight Night, James Irvin stopped Houston Alexander in eight seconds for the fastest knockout in UFC history. Here's a look:

Alexander got up after referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight and protested, saying he could have continued. That's no surprise; boxers and mixed martial arts fighters are tough competitors, and they almost always want to keep going. But it's the referee's job to stop the fight if the fighter is at risk of getting seriously hurt, and Mazzagatti did that job.

So I've been surprised how many people I've heard from in the last couple of days who think Alexander was right, and that Mazzagatti really did stop the fight too quickly. Sorry, but that's just not the way it works.

There's a reason that the referee's instruction "protect yourself at all times" has become such a well-established part of boxing and MMA: If at any point a fighter isn't able to protect himself, that ends the fight. Alexander was sprawled on the canvas and not protecting himself, and that was all Mazzagatti had to see. Congratulations to Steve Mazzagatti for doing his job perfectly.

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