Eddie Alvarez’s disqualification loss to Iuri Lapicus is going to have everyone talking for a while, and ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong has already weighed in with his initial impressions.
Sityodtong released his comments on the controversial call and Lapicus’ condition after the completion of the ONE on TNT broadcast. In it, he explains that an initial review of Alvarez’s illegal strikes confirms the call made by referee Justin Brown.
Less than minute into the opening round of the Alvarez vs. Lapicus fight, Alvarez took Lapicus down and went to work with ground-and-pound. Lapicus attempted to turn his head away from the punches, but Alvarez kept looking to land while also controlling Lapicus’ head. Unfortunately for Alvarez, several of his strikes were deemed to have landed on the back of Lapicus’ head, an illegal maneuver, and Brown stepped in to pause the action.
With Lapicus unable to continue, Alvarez was given a red card, resutling in a disqualification under ONE rules.
Here is what Sityodtong had to say about the matter:
Hear Chatri's thoughts on Alvarez vs. Lapicus, including an update on Iuri's condition @yodchatri @Ealvarezfight #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship #ONEonTNT pic.twitter.com/qt6OODsQlQ— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) April 8, 2021
“Eddie, the problem is that there were four or five illegal blows,” Sityodtong said. “We reviewed it three times. Eddie didn’t have visibility because I know Eddie definitely didn’t mean to do it.”
Alvarez addressed the controversy himself while speaking to the media post-fight, and he hopes the result can be overturned from a loss to a victory for him. The former UFC champion has conducted his own review of the fight-ending sequence, and while he doesn’t blame Brown for having to make a split-second decision, he doesn’t feel that his strikes were illegal.
“I went back to my room and I was able to watch the clip of the fight, and see everything and it was a bad call on the referee’s side,” Alvarez said at the post-fight press conference. “The American media is in uproar right now and so are the American fans. I’m going to respectfully ask them to look back at the video and reverse that call.
“All that matters is Iuri’s safety. That’s it right now. That he’s going to be OK. When I go back, I’m in the cage, so emotions run high. The referee, people make bad decisions when emotions run high. I think it was a bad call. I’m mixed emotions right now.”
As for Lapicus, the DQ victory boosted his pro record to 15-1 and kept him in line for a potential rematch with ONE lightweight champion Christian Lee (assuming Lapicus and Alvarez are not immediately booked for a rematch). Lee defends his title against Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE on TNT 2 next Wednesday.
Sityodtong added that Lapicus was in good condition following his fight with Alvarez.
“We just got word right now that Iuri is in stable condition,” Sityodtong said. “His CAT scan results haven’t come back in yet, but he’s in stable condition. His vitals are good.”