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Mario Yamasaki breaks silence about the controversial UFC Belem co-main event

UFC Fight Night: Shevchenko v Cachoeira Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Mario Yamasaki was heavily criticized after the flyweight bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Priscila Cachoeira for not stopping the fight sooner and allowing “Pedrita” to take unnecessary damage. Cachoeira was submitted in the second round.

In a statement sent to MMA Fighting on Monday night, the Brazilian referee responded to the criticism, admitting that he could have stopped the fight on several occasions - when Shevchenko had the mount and also the second time Cachoeira was trapped in a crucifix. He also discussed the criticism he’s received online, including Dana White’s Instagram post.

Check the full statement below.

During the second round, I signaled to ‘Pedrita’ that if she didn’t move I’d stop the fight, and every time I’d stop, I told her and she moved to try to escape from the punches. Unfortunately, I also can’t control the number of blows thrown -- again, when a fighter is trying to come back she’s game.

Fighters go through times of hard effort and dedication to be there. MMA is a contact sport and no fighter likes his fight to be stopped with no chance to revert the result. In my opinion, I allowed Pedrita to be a warrior and keep fighting. I could have stopped the fight in the second crucifix or in the mount, but she moved the whole time.

I also recognize that I should have stopped when she tapped the first time to the rear-naked choke. I only stopped a few seconds later.

About other people’s opinions, it’s their right to say.

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