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UFC 96: What Was Lavigne Thinking?

Yves Lavigne put on one of the most horrendous displays of refereeing I've ever seen in any sport during Saturday night's UFC 96 fight between Pete Sell and Matt Brown.

Fierce Action at UFC 96

    Rampage Jackson enters the ring before his match with Keith Jardine at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson and Keith Jardine posture before their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Keith Jardine kicks Rampage Jackson during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Keith Jardine kicks Rampage Jackson during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson and Keith Jardine grapple during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Keith Jardine, right, punches Rampage Jackson during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson punches Keith Jardine during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Keith Jardine kicks Rampage Jackson during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson clocks Keith Jardine during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson punches Keith Jardine during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC


Lavigne began to stop their fight when Brown badly hurt Sell early on, stepping between the fighters as referees typically do when they're going to stop the fight. But Lavigne then inexplicably let the fight keep going, even though Sell was obviously hurt.

That decision alone jeopardized Sell's health, but Lavigne wasn't done screwing up. When Brown continued to pummel Sell, Lavigne just stood there and watched. Brown looked incredulous that their fight was continuing, and everyone watching was incredulous, too.

As Brown continued battering Sell, Lavigne eventually stopped the fight and awarded Brown a first-round TKO -- but only after Sell took far more punishment than he should have.

"I thought he stopped the fight, so I just backed off -- I'm not trying to cause him any more damage," Brown said. "I could see he's out on his feet. I feel bad for Pete Sell."

I feel bad for Pete Sell, too. And I feel strongly that Yves Lavigne should be suspended from refereeing. His performance was shameful.