Referee Marc Goddard was asked to provide context for the final moments of the welterweight co-main event at UFC 264 between Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson.
Burns won the bout via unanimous decision to bounce back from his third-round TKO loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 258 in his first opportunity at the UFC welterweight title. The fight was circled on a lot of fight fans’ cards ahead of the event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but Burns used his superior grappling slow down the elusive striking of Thompson, which led to some boos from the capacity crowd.
In addition, fans were a bit outraged due to the final seconds of the fight as Burns fired off a slew of punches to “Wonderboy” while they were on the mat, with some believing Burns hit Thompson with punches to the back of the head.
Goddard was asked about those moments by a fan on Twitter and offered his explanation, as well as a slowed-down look at the final flurry which exonerated Burns from any egregious wrongdoing.
Of course I can. I’ll always try to offer explanation, sadly it gets drowned out. You’ll see that only the 4th shot is a glancing blow to the nape of the neck. The first shots are top & side. The last 5 clearly to the shoulder. I try to maintain clarity in chaos! Hope this helps. https://t.co/aBOMkmYCkj pic.twitter.com/vDrmVRTbpG— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) July 12, 2021
“I’ll always try to offer explanation, sadly it gets drowned out,” Goddard said. “You’ll see that only the [fourth] shot is a glancing blow to the nape of the neck. The first shots are top & side. The last five clearly to the shoulder. I try to maintain clarity in chaos! Hope this helps.”
Burns, No. 3 in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, improved to 5-1 since moving up to the welterweight division and went on to call for fights with Jorge Masvidal, Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards. Thompson takes a big step back in his quest to fight for the welterweight title for the third time as the 38-year-old had his two-fight winning streak snapped.