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Frankie Edgar criticizes UFC 268 referee over ‘early stoppage’ in loss to Marlon Vera

UFC 268: Usman v Covington 2
Frankie Edgar
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Frankie Edgar wanted more time to work at UFC 268.

This past Saturday’s event at Madison Square Garden saw Edgar lose by knockout to Marlon Vera, the third time in Edgar’s past four fights that he’s been finished via strikes. The stoppage officially came at 3:50 of Round 3, and Edgar wasn’t pleased with referee Todd Anderson waving off the bout when he did.

“I lost the fight, that’s done,” Edgar said when discussing the fight on his Champ and The Tramp podcast. “I’m proud of my performance, I’m proud of my team, I’m proud of the way I prepare to do everything the right way. I was 100 percent ready for the fight. I felt like I was doing well in the fight, first round especially. Second round was a little bit closer. Third round I thought I was really doing well too, I started picking up the pace, landing a lot of punches, obviously got hit with that upkick.

“I wish the ref let it go a little bit longer. Do I think it was an early stoppage? A little bit. Obviously, the ref’s job is to make sure I’m safe and I get it, I have no qualms about that.”

According to Edgar, his issues with Anderson began before the fighters even walked out. A veteran of 28 UFC bouts heading into Saturday, Edgar was aggravated by the thoroughness with which Anderson ran over the rules in the locker room.

He said he was unfamiliar with Anderson and assumed that he was “a New York ref, not a like a guy that travels with the UFC.”

“He’s in the back giving me the, ‘You understand? Do you understand?’” Edgar said. “The best ref doesn’t say f*cking anything. When he’s in there he’s like, ‘Stay out of his eyes, stay out of his eyes.’ Motherf*cker’s in my eyes, he just kept f*cking running his mouth.

“Then the dude hits me past the bell and I’m like, ‘Yo, what the f*ck?’ The ref’s like, ‘No, it was a good one.’ What the f*ck are you talking about, it was after the f*cking bell! It was the end of the first. I’m like, ‘Dude.’”

Anderson has worked major UFC events in the past, most notably UFC 208 in Brooklyn in February 2017, where he was heavily criticized by UFC President Dana White for what White argued were uncalled fouls in the featherweight championship main event between Germaine de Randamie and Holly Holm. The New York State Athletic Commission then responded to the complaint, stating that the UFC made no objection to Anderson’s assignment.

It should be noted that White defended Anderson’s stoppage from UFC 268 at Saturday’s post-fight press conference, stating, “I love Frankie Edgar, but he’s wrong. It was a great stoppage.”

What irks Edgar is that his bout was preceded by two action-packed, back-and-forth battles, including an absolute war between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler, and neither of those fights were stopped.

“It just kills me because if you look at the two fights before me, they let those guys fight until they almost died,” Edgar said. “I literally got hit with a shot, my hand hit the mat, my head never even touched the f*cking mat.

“[Vera] pushed the back of my head, and it made it look worse than it was I think because when the ref stopped it, I looked up and I’m like, ‘Dude, no!’ I said, ‘No, what are you doing?’ He’s like, ‘It’s a good stop, it’s a good stop.’ Alright, that’s in the past. It happened. I lost.”

This is Edgar’s second straight knockout loss, following a brutal finish this past February in a fight against Cory Sandhagen. That bout ended with Edgar being knocked out clean by a flying knee, and while Vera definitely had him hurt, he feels he was in much better shape to continue this time around.

“It’s not like the last fight where I don’t remember sh*t,” Edgar said. “I f*cking came to when the ref stopped it, I’m like, ‘Dude, what are you doing? Come on.’ Complaining, not being a d*ck, but I thought I was good, I remember being in there asking the guy unwrapping my hands, the cut guy, ‘Bro, do you think that was a f*cking early stoppage? Or am I bugging?’ He’s like, ‘It was kind of quick, man, it was kind of quick.’

“Especially — again, I’m not trying to f*cking make this a big deal because it is what it is — you watch f*cking Justin and Michael Chandler f*cking kill each other and then Burgos and Quarantillo too, they were f*cking on the outs for half the f*cking fight. My head didn’t hit the mat yet! Gimme some more.”