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Germaine de Randamie apologizes for hitting after the bell: ‘It was in the heat of the moment’

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Germaine de Randamie lands a punch on Holly Holm at UFC 208.
Germaine de Randamie lands a punch on Holly Holm at UFC 208.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Germaine de Randamie is the first UFC women’s featherweight champion, but that belt did not come without some trepidation.

Foremost on the minds of fans were two instances during de Randamie’s title fight with Holly Holm that were controversial. After the bell to end the second round, de Randamie landed two hard punches to Holm, the latter of which wobbled her. De Randamie landed a punch after the third-round bell, too.

In MMA, the referee ends the round officially, not the bell. But ref Todd Anderson was late in getting between the women both times. He warned de Randamie after the second transgression, but did not take a point.

De Randamie ended up winning the fight — and the belt — by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47). One point ended up being the difference. Afterward, talking to Joe Rogan inside the Octagon, de Randamie said she was sorry for the incidents.

“It wasn’t meant for me to hit her after the bell,” the Netherlands native said. “It was in the heat of the moment. I apologize. I’m not like that.”

Even with those occurrences, some thought Holm should have won the fight on the scorecards. De Randamie clearly won the first two rounds, while Holm won the final two rounds on two of the three judges’ cards. The third round was the closest, with Holm landing a head kick toward the end that dropped the 32-year-old Dutchwoman.

“It was a close fight,” de Randamie said. “She [caught] me in the third round with a head kick. It was close, but I came to fight and she didn’t want to fight me. I’m a brawler. I want to fight.”

De Randamie (7-3) said she wasn’t that hurt after the head kick of a straight left in the fourth round that dropped her. She criticized Holm for not standing and banging, and playing more of a countering, clinching game.

“I hoped she was going to fight with me,” de Randamie said. “Holly is a tremendous champion. I truly respect her. But I love to brawl, I love to fight. Clinching is not my game. But whatever.”

De Randamie’s first title defense could come against Cris Cyborg, the clear-cut top 145-pound female fighter in the world, depending on how Cyborg’s USADA doping case shakes out. De Randamie said she’d be willing to fight Cyborg, but needs to take care of an injury first.

“I want to fight everybody,” she said. “If Cris Cyborg is the one I have to fight, I’ll fight her. Right now, I really need surgery on my hand. I’ll get surgery on my hand and we’ll see after.”