UFC lightweight Joe Lauzon was victorious at UFC on FOX 16, besting Takanori Gomi by TKO via punches from back mount at just 2:37 of the first round, but it wasn't without a bit of controversy. That's not because the fight was stopped too early, but perhaps too late.
Lauzon pounded on a flattened Gomi from back mount, but walked away when the Japanese fighter stopped resisting. Referee Herb Dean, however, did not call the contest until Gomi rose to his feet and was inspected, prompting Lauzon to almost reengage the fight.
It was like a walk-off knockout, only from the ground.
"I think I kinda jumped the gun a little bit," Lauzon said at the post-fight press conference. "I hit him good a couple of times. When I had his back, I spread him out and I think he tore something in his groin or something because he was fighting pretty hard and then he let out kinda of a squeal. Then he completely went flat. I felt like I had taken the life out of him.
"Hit him a couple of times," Lauzon continued. "I thought he was unconscious. I thought he was out. He looked out. Herb Dean was right there, so I figured he was unconscious. I thought I beat him to him putting hands on me and I walked away. Then he's kinda looking at him and checking him out. I'm like, 'He's not going to stop this.' Then I started to kinda run over and then before I got there he waved me off."
As Lauzon explained, he wasn't getting up for show or to change the direction of the fight. He sincerely believed it had come to an end, albeit an end he later acknowledged he wasn't fully committed to before he acted.
"I thought [Dean] was stopping the fight," Lauzon said. "I really did. He was right on top of me. He didn't put his hands on me, which I guess that's what I should've waited for, but Gomi was clearly unconscious. He's face down. I'm hitting him in the head a couple of times. He's not moving at all.
"There was no doubt in my mind at that moment the fight was over, but then I got up and walked away and then Herb is looking at him," Lauzon noted. "It looked like he was trying to make a decision, so then I started kinda coming back, but I thought it was over. I normally wouldn't stop unless I was 100 percent sure."