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Josh Emmett says he wishes referee Dan Miragliotta had ‘done his job’ after Jeremy Stephens knee

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Josh Emmett really had no idea about an illegal knee, potentially illegal elbows or an appeal with the Florida State Boxing Commission.

The UFC featherweight fighter was in the hospital Saturday night following his knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 28. He broke three orbital bones and had his teeth jarred out of place. Emmett also figures he has a concussion.

It wasn’t until Sunday morning when text messages started streaming into his phone about the sequence of events that ended the bout. Emmett watched the replay of the finish on his phone and believes he was indeed hit with illegal elbows and an illegal knee. The Team Alpha Male athlete thinks referee Dan Miragliotta should have stepped in at some point to correct things.

“I’m not saying he’s a dirty fighter at all, but after watching it, I just wish I had more of a fair chance,” Emmett told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I wish Dan would have done his job. If he would have stopped the fight, I would have gotten a little time to recover or they maybe took a point away from Stephens. It could have been a completely different outcome.”

Stephens caught Emmett with a left hook that dropped him in the second round. Stephens then pounced with elbows that appeared to land to the back of the head, though Emmett was in transition at the time. As Emmett got to his knees, Stephens threw a knee that seemed to graze Emmett’s head. Emmett said it landed and he definitely felt it.

With Emmett still on his knees, a knee to the head would be illegal, but Miragliotta allowed the action to continue. Seconds later, Stephens landed more hard blows and Emmett was knocked out.

“I just thought it was a blow,” Emmett said of the knee. “I didn’t know what hit me. But it definitely skimmed me after watching it and coming down. And regardless of the new rules or the old rules, I was still a downed opponent, because both knees were down. Even if one hand or two hands was up, it was still an illegal blow.

“It was a fight. I know he wasn’t trying to do that in the heat of the battle. But man, there’s a reason why there’s rules in place. So I think they should have implemented them. It’s frustrating now. But it is what it is.”

Emmett (13-2) does not think Stephens intentionally threw the potentially illegal blows and does not necessarily hold it against him. He just wishes Miragliotta would have intervened.

“You’re trying to win the fight, we both are,” Emmett said. “I don’t believe he’s a dirty fighter, either. I don’t believe he was doing it on purpose. But I can’t say that, because I don’t know what he was thinking. So maybe he was, but I would hope he wasn’t trying to do that, which I don’t think he is. But it’s still, a rule is a rule. I just can’t get over that. Otherwise, there should be no rules and it should be Pride rules. If there are rules that are set, they should be obeyed.”

Emmett, 32, said he didn’t know anything about an appeal until Sunday. He said his management team is handling that and he’ll go along with that, because he trusts they’re doing what they think is best for him. The Arizona native believes that instant replay should have been available to determine what exactly happened in that finishing sequence, but it is not allowed under Florida State Boxing Commission rules.

Now, Emmett will head back to Sacramento and likely get surgery to repair his broken orbital bone. He’s hoping for a quick recovery and he’d like nothing more to get a rematch with Stephens in his next bout.

“I would like a rematch,” Emmett said. “I won the first round, I was winning the second round, doing really well. He caught me just perfect, little left hook on the chin. I was composing, getting back up and then I just felt like some of those illegal blows made it a lot worse for me.”