clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Morning Report: Brian Stann on UFC 211 rules controversy: Come on, we’re better than this

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

UFC 211 took place on Saturday night in Dallas, Texas. And despite the fact that two champions defended their belts in dominant fashion, and put themselves in consideration for the title of “Greatest of All Time” in their respective weight divisions, arguable the biggest story coming out of the weekend is, once again, regulatory.

In the final prelim bout on FX, former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez faced Dustin Poirier in his first fight back since losing the title. It was a bout many predicted to earn Fight of the Night honors, and it may have had won if not for a controversial sequence of events that prematurely stopped the fight. Alvarez landed two illegal knee strikes to the head of Poirier while Poirier was a “downed opponent” which ended the fight. Despite the foul, referee Herb Dean ruled the blows “accidental” and the fight was declared a no contest, though many disliked the ruling.

Among those unhappy with the handing of the situation was UFC commentator Brian Stann who spoke about the contest on the FOX post-fight show after the card.

“The fight was awesome. Dustin Poirier was putting on perhaps his best performance since he’s moved to lightweight. Maintaining his range, combinations, he hurt Alvarez bad. Then Alvarez showed off his heart. He was hurt significantly, fought his way back into this fight and then here come the knees. All clearly illegal. These are not the new rules, these are the old rules and it wouldn’t matter anyways.”

“Now the decision is made to call it a no-contest. A DQ [disqualification] and a no contest. No. These are illegal moves. That should be a disqualification, a win for Dustin Poirier, who was most likely up two rounds to none.”

The Alvarez-Poirier situation is just the latest controversy stemming from the new downed fighter rules. The new rule, which dictates that a fighter is no longer considered “downed” if he or she only has on hand on the mat, went into effect this year but many states have yet to implement them, leading to a confusing situation where different locations have different rules in play. A month ago, Gegard Mousasi won a controversial fight against Chris Weidman with a similar rule fiasco in the center of the controversy. Stann blames these problems on the lack of uniformity in the “Unified” Rules of MMA and calls for all of these regulatory issues need to be solved once and for all.

“Here’s the overall frustration: We set new rules, we barely ever use them, we go to different cities every damn weekend and these fighters have no idea what knees are allowed, what positions they’re supposed to be in, what point scores we’re going by. I was in one country, in Fortaleza in Brazil, and it was a mixture of the old and the new rules! I asked the referee, ‘do the fighters know that?’ He said, ‘well, the three bouts that I’m reffing, they know that.’ Come on! We’re better than this. Decide on rules and go with them so that these athletes know. And the referees, they should be the best ones to know. Get the rules right. I don’t buy that that should have been a no-contest. That should have been a win for Dustin Poirier and what makes me super upset is that we continue to have controversy over these rules. We have to fix this.”

For Poirier, it’s an unfortunate circumstance; a fight he was likely winning was stopped on a foul, denying him the potential to earn his win bonus. Through no fault of his own, Poirier potentially lost out on the biggest win of his career and half of his pay. And though Poirier intends to appeal the no contest decision, such appeals have historically come up empty, leaving Poirier in the lurch. Stann doesn’t think Alvarez is a dirty fighter, but he also doesn’t think Poirier should suffer because Alvarez did something illegal.

“Look I get it, Eddie Alvarez is in a fist fight, he’s not thinking through that, but regardless, it’s still a foul. If you’re going to make the rule and it’s going to be a foul then treat it as a foul and don’t just say, ‘OK nobody wins.’ That’s not how it’s supposed to go.”


211. The biggest event of the year happened on Saturday and here are the results.

420. Anthony Johnson reveals why he retired and what’s next for him.

Appeal. Dustin Poirier is going to appeal the No Contest against Eddie Alvarez.

HoF. Joe Silva, former UFC matchmaker, will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Wolf tix. Dana White finishing deal with Conor McGregor, now has to work on Floyd Mayweather to make their boxing superfight.


211 post-fight show with two of the best.

Couple of Tommy’s for you.

Amir Khan still fruitlessly trying to get Conor to box him.

CES 44 highlights.


Bushido Talk. UFC 211 post-fight thoughts.

6th Round. UFC 211 fight breakdowns.

Beatdown After The Bell. UFC 211 immediate afterthoughts.


The classiest man in MMA. I like T-Wood a lot but I hope Maia cuddles him for 25 minutes.

Forever and ever.


Conor the gentleman.

Congrats and best of luck.

Also congrats!.

Nick is ruthless.

Al might not be Ragin’ anymore?

If TJ can make 125, this fight is awesome.

Future champ don’t take kindly to the nonsense from the presser.

High praise.

Ridiculous KOs.

Reebok deal.


Iuri Alcantara (35-7, 1 NC) vs. Brian Kelleher (16-7); UFC 212, June 3.

Justin Gaethje (17-0) vs. Michael Johnson (17-11); TUF 25 Finale, July 7.

Chris Weidman (13-3) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (13-2, 1 NC); UFC on Fox 25, July 22.


1998: At UFC 17, Frank Shamrock submitted Jeremy Horn with a kneebar to retain the UFC middleweight championship. That night Dan Henderson also won a four man middleweight tournament, winning decisions over Allan Goes and Carlos Newton. This night also featured the MMA debut of Chuck Liddell who won a decision over Noe Hernandez as well as the debut of the term “mixed martial arts” which was coined by Jeff Blatnick in an effort to improve the image of the sport in the public sphere.

2010: Alistair Overeem successfully defended his Strikeforce heavyweight title by knocking out Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery.

2012: Chan Sung Jung submitted Dustin Poirier with a d’arce choke in the fourth round of the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 3 in the 2012 Fight of the Year.


No-contests should be reserved for things like an accidental clash of heads that opens a fight ending cut. Illegal knees are illegal. You’re in charge of the strikes you throw. If you throw a strike, that strike is illegal, and it ends the fight, you should take the loss. Dustin did nothing wrong. Eddie did. Even though Eddie almost certainly didn’t do it with malice, there is no reason they should receive the same outcome.

Also, Joanna Blessed Mother of Violence is the greatest female fighter of all time and if you disagree, I don’t like you.

Hell of a weekend of fights, y’all. A bit of a letdown after that but this Bellator card is one of its better offerings so it’s not too bad. Enjoy your Mondays and see y’all tomorrow.

If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy it.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting