LAS VEGAS -- We're four months removed from featherweight champion Jose Aldo's knockout victory over Chad Mendes at UFC 142. But the subject remains a sore spot for Mendes' Team Alpha Male campmate, Urijah Faber.
Faber, who will fight Renan Barao for the interim bantamweight title at UFC 148, fielded fan questions during a UFC Fight Club Q & A session Friday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
One of the first such questions regarded whether or not Aldo should have been penalized for grabbing the fence.
Aldo committed the infraction late in round one as Mendes, a decorated wrestler, went for a takedown. But referee Mario Yamasaki let it slide, and shortly thereafter, Aldo knocked out Mendes with a flying knee as the round wound down.
In response, Faber questioned Yamasaki's judgment and also said the move was deliberate on the champion's part.
"You know, we don't like to dwell on things we can't really control, but, the bottom line is, that's an infraction, they should have stopped the action and maybe started them down," Faber said.
Earlier at UFC 142, Yamasaki took heat from the crowd at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro after disqualifying Erick Silva for allegedly hitting Carlo Prater in the back of the head during a bout Silva was clearly winning. The way Faber sees it, Yamasaki didn't want to risk incurring the wrath of the crowd a second time.
"The ref had said something about [fence grabbing] in the locker room before the fight," Faber said. "But he had been put on blast because of a questionable call against the Brazilians earlier in the night, so I guess he didn't want to piss off the Brazilians very much."
Faber thinks that the fence grab was part of a strategy employed by Aldo.
"I think he was prepared to take the penalty for the fence grab, but it didn't happen," he said. "It's not his fault, he just kept on fighting, he was doing that to save himself from getting taken down. It would have changed the fight for sure.
"I think he did that on purpose, because he knows, he knew [the ground was] where he didn't want to be. He was willing to take a penalty to avoid that. It was a gamble on his part and it paid off."