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Morning Report: Matt Serra says referee ‘should be ashamed’ for potentially costing Demian Maia against Kamaru Usman

Matt Serra

In the main event of UFC Chile this past weekend, Kamaru Usman won a five-round unanimous decision over Demian Maia. In a relatively uneventful fight, Maia was unable to impose his grappling advantage on the young wrestler, losing a pretty clear decision. But at least one notable MMA figure believes Maia was given short shrift on Saturday night.

Speaking on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra said that Maia got “screwed” by referee Leon Roberts who “possibly could have cost him the fight” when Roberts separated Maia and Usman during the first round when Maia nearly had Usman’s back along the cage.

“This is the thing, he had his back,” said Serra. “I was not surprised the way things went after that. You have one shot sometimes in a fight like this, especially because he didn’t have a camp. People do not understand. That’s why I predicted a first-round choke by Demian Maia. He was on his way there.

“They weren’t just holding each other up against the cage. It might have looked like it but Kamaru had an overhook and that overhook was the only thing stopping Demian from taking that back. It was a very awkward position where [Usman] was not getting out of that. The only way he could look to free himself was to let go and expose his back. Otherwise, you’re just stalling. Now, could he keep that up for another minute and 15 seconds or whatever it was? Maybe. If so, alright, let’s see what happens in round two. Or, with thirty seconds left, he could try to scramble and still get strangled.

“Just in the montage before he walks out look at how many times he’s strangled guy - powerful wrestlers like Rick Story, gutty, gritty guys who do not tap easily like Carlos Condit or Matt Brown. This is not a coincidence. So for [Roberts] to take away his one shot, Leon Roberts, you should be ashamed of yourself and I think you possibly could have cost him the fight. Leon, you f**ked up, Leon. You really did.”

The moment Serra references was one of the lone bright spots for Maia on the evening. The BJJ world champion was unable to get the fight to the floor, going 0 for 15 on takedowns and was never able to secure another position like the one Roberts took away from him in the first round. That could be in part because Maia did not have a full training camp for this fight. Usman was originally set to face Santiago Ponzinibbio in the main event but Ponzinibbio withdrew due to injury and Maia stepped up with only three weeks’ notice for a five-round fight and it’s that last point that really sticks in Serra’s craw.

“Are you getting influenced because you’re maybe hearing some boos in the crowd or something?” said Serra. “Your job is not to make this s**t entertaining. It’s one thing if a guy is stalling.

“I get worked up because Demian Maia took that fight like a f**king warrior and he saved that card and he had his position, he had what he wanted. He was this close! We don’t know what would have happened!”

As a quite possibly the most unlikely champion in UFC history, Serra knows the importance of small opportunities in MMA, and unfortunately, the loss likely closes the door on Maia’s title aspirations and that is a tough pill to swallow for Serra.

“I am so livid! I’m livid over this ref!” exclaimed Serra. “This was his shot and he had him in a position! People can say what they want, that ref screwed him. Maybe he would have rode out the round but you never know. It was such a horrible thing to do to him because he never got that position back.”


USADA. Fabricio Werdum fails USADA drug test, facing UFC anti-doping violation.

Injury. Mirko Cro Cop details extent of knee injury, targeted date for return.

Out. Luke Rockhold re-injures leg, tabling talks of Alexander Gustafsson fight.

Coach. Chuck Liddell’s coach doesn’t ‘like’ comeback but behind Liddell ‘100 percent’.

Semtex. Paul Daley softens stance on Bellator, will meet with Scott Coker.


The MMA After Hour.

Tony Bellew giving Till some shine.

Tommy on Werdum.

Rampage coming at 50 Cent over his nonsensical call out.

Livestream of a UFC event with fighters and Dana playing video games that for some reason doesn’t involve Mighty Mouse.

Rogan on Jon Jones.


Anik & Florian. Discussing UFC Chile plus an interview with Stephen Thompson.

The MMA Circus. Discussing UFC Chile and UFC Liverpool.


Conor McGregor is so edgy.

Graphic look at Rockhold’s knee injury.

Big deal.

Trying to make it happen.


UFC about to get a lot of soon to be bantamweights.

Stipe got no chill.

Brunson making good decisions.

Fifty’s sudden emergence into MMA is so weird.

Moving on up.

Good guy Woodley.


Jose Torres (7-0) vs. Jarred Brooks (13-1); UFC Utica, June 1.


2004: Takanori Gomi recorded the fastest KO in Pride FC history, knocking out Ralph Gracie in six seconds at Pride Bushido 3.

2009: We were all welcomed to the Machida Era as Lyoto Machida became the UFC light heavyweight champion, knocking out Rashad Evans at UFC 98.

2015: Daniel Cormier became the UFC light heavyweight champion when he submitted Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. In the co-main event that evening, Chris Weidman retained his middleweight title with a first-round stoppage of Vitor Belfort.


Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.



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