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Darren Stewart on CABMMA’s decision to overturn UFC win: ‘The entire situation stinks’

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Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Darren Stewart finished Francimar Barroso in the first round at UFC Fight Night 100 in Sao Paulo, but the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission overturned his victory to a no-contest three days later.

Barroso complained that Stewart connected on an illegal headbutt moments before the finish. Even though the referee Eduardo Herdy still decided to award Stewart the TKO victory after checking the replay, CABMMA announced on Tuesday that they have decided to overturn it after a further review.

Stewart, who didn’t expect such a decision from the Brazilian commission moments after the fight, reacted to the news on his social media.

"To say I'm disappointed is an understatement," he posted on his Instagram. "I travelled to Brazil, missed my son's second birthday, missed a holiday I paid for with my fiancée and son to show up and compete in Brazil. The entire situation stinks.

"I put a lot of time and money into this fight, won the fight, and his mates at the Brazilian MMA commission overturned the decision. Fighting a Brazilian in Brazil is something that every fighter should think very strongly about. Had I lost and made and appeal to the Brazil commission I doubt it would be overturned because I'm not from Brazil."

Stewart remains undefeated as a mixed martial artist with a 7-0 record with one no-contest, and called for another shot at Barroso in 2017.

"Let's get the rematch on for London, March 18th," said Stewart, mentioning the UFC Fight Night 108 card scheduled for the O2 Arena. "If they refuse the rematch, it just stinks more."

Referee Eduardo Herdy released a statement to MMA Fighting, saying the instant replay wasn’t able to help him understand what happened in the fight, and that he supports CABMMA’s decision to overturn the result.

Even though there was a light, unintentional clash of heads during the fight, because of a clinch position in a grappling exchange, which didn’t diminish the athlete’s physical condition to fight, I told the fighter twice to continue fighting. Disobeying that command, he didn’t observe the primary command to protect yourself at all times, succumbing to the opponent’s punches. With that interpretation, the result was rightfully announced.

The Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission, with my full support, will always look for the fairest result. If that’s not possible during the fight, there are ways to make it happen. Despite being recent, we have an athletic commission in Brazil that is fully focused on developing the sport and the improvement of its practices, including some innovations, and always looking for interchange with the main MMA regulator entities for constant evolution.

With the applicability of the instant replay, a different result could have been announced. Since this is a new resource, the tool wasn’t applied as it should. Considering everything, confronting what happened at the time of the fight and with the search of what’s fair, the change of the result had my support. We have to take advantage of the innovations so the sport grows even more.