Juliana Velasquez is not happy with the officiating in her Bellator 278 championship clash with Liz Carmouche on Friday at Bellator 278.
Velasquez entered the cage in Honolulu as an undefeated flyweight against Carmouche and was up in all scorecards, including two 30-27s, before referee Mike Beltran called the stop to the bout with 13 seconds left in the fourth round.
The Brazilian flyweight was upset she wasn’t given an opportunity to voice her discontent in a post-fight interview or in a post-fight scrum backstage. She reached out to MMA Fighting to inform her team will file an official appeal with the Hawaii State Boxing Commission on Monday.
“The elbow had no effect,” Velasquez said of the strikes Carmouche was landing from crucifix position that led to the stoppage. “She had no angle, my face is completely clean. Nothing happened, really.
“I was trying to show [the referee] I was fine, and as I was trying to free my arm, he stopped it. My hips were high and he said I was out. That’s my point. He claimed I was out, but how can you go out and continue to keep your hips high? I was trying to escape the whole time and wasn’t feeling anything. Her elbows were not effective.”
Velasquez said “we will file an appeal and do everything we can to make it a no-contest.” She recalled Beltran was also the referee in the first title bout between Patricio Pitbull and A.J. McKee, when the Brazilian complained he was never out nor tapped when Beltran stopped it due to a guillotine choke.
“We’ll try to reverse this because when you’re winning a title fight and there’s  seconds left and the guy stops it like that, it just can’t happen,” Velasquez said. “Mike Beltran is a referee and is a human being, and people make mistakes. We all can [make mistakes], but these mistakes cost a lot in our lives in terms of media attention and salary. You can’t have mistakes like that.”
Carmouche defended the referee’s call at the post-fight press conference, saying he “stepped in at the right time” because at that point the champion wasn’t defending herself. Carmouche said she hopes for a new challenger next instead of an immediate rematch.
Velasquez “would be surprised” if the champ did ask for a do-over.
“I’m ready for a rematch,” she said. “I saw this morning [Carmouche] said she doesn’t want a rematch. I never saw a kid burn his hand and put his hand back in the fire, right? It’s obvious she doesn’t want a rematch. [But] I’ll do everything I can. I want a rematch and I’ll file an appeal so we can make this a no-contest. I feel like the belt didn’t even go to her, that it went to the referee. He took it from me.”
Velasquez said she understand the referee’s job is to protect the health and safety of the athlete, but she wasn’t in any danger.
“After the fight, when I told [Beltran] and [my coaches] Vander and Rick entered the cage, we look at the big screen and pointed at [Beltran], ‘look, look!’” she said. “When he looked at it, his expression was clear. Everybody saw the look at his face after watching the replay. [He looked like] ‘I f***** up.’ That was his reaction.”