TEMECULA, Calif. -- Georgi Karakhanyan locked in a guillotine choke on Bubba Jenkins in the first round Friday night at Bellator 132 and it was tight. So tight that Jenkins didn't even have a chance to tap. He went unconscious.
Karakhanyan yelled to referee Herb Dean that Jenkins was out. Dean checked Jenkins, but didn't pull Karakhanyan off for a submission win until precious seconds later.
When he did and rolled over Jenkins onto his stomach, the knocked-out fighter's eyes rolled back in his head. It was a frightening moment considering how dangerous chokes can be.
"It was a little scary and I know Herb Dean was trying to get underneath him to look and see," Bellator MMA president Scott Coker said. "Hindsight is 20/20, right? I thought he did the best job he could do. It was a little scary to be honest. He was clearly out."
Karakhanyan, who earned a featherweight title shot with the victory at Pechanga Resort & Casino, said he felt Jenkins go out, but feared letting go because the rules say fighters should not until the ref intervenes.
"He was out for maybe a good 10 seconds before," Karakhanyan said. "His whole body just dropped on me. But you can't stop unless the ref pulls you off and I didn't want to stop."
While it certainly seemed like Dean, one of the most respected referees in MMA, was slow jumping in, Coker did not want to criticize.
"Herb was trying to work around him to really find out if he was 100 percent gone," Coker said. "What I felt really good about was after they woke him up they knew exactly what to do to get Bubba Jenkins back. They took care of business."
There was more refereeing controversy in the main event featherweight title fight between champion Patricio Freire and Daniel Straus. In the second round, Straus was docked a point for an eye poke, which came after several low blows. Freire landed a knee to the groin in the fourth round that dropped Straus and referee John McCarthy was slow breaking up the action. Freire had pounced and landed ground and pound on Straus, who was still reeling from the illegal blow. McCarthy had to physically lift Freire off Straus to separate the two men.
Freire was not docked a point and minutes later he choked Straus out to retain the title.
"That action was so fast and so furious," Coker said. "I give John McCarthy a lot of credit for handling himself in that cage the way he did. I have no complaints with him."