One of the big talking points of Saturday night’s UFC 142 event was veteran referee Mario Yamasaki’s decision to nix Erick Silva’s 29 second TKO victory over Carlo Prater by disqualifying him for throwing illegal punches to the back of his opponent’s head.
Many people were left stunned by the ruling as they hadn’t seen anything wrong with Silva’s strikes, including color commentator Joe Rogan who decided to go straight to the source by quizzing Yamasaki live on air during the PPV while watching back replays of the fight.
Afterwards there were mixed feelings amongst fans as to whether Rogan had crossed the line by putting Yamasaki on the spot like that.
As such Rogan opted to explain his reasoning in a post on the UG forum today and stressed that he had no ill will towards Yamasaki.
“He’s a great guy, and I’m always happy to see him. When I step into the octagon however, I represent the people watching at home that might have obvious questions, and when something is controversial I’m forced to confront it honestly because that’s what I would want to hear from a person in my position if I was a fan watching it at home.
It was obviously a controversial call, and I’m sure some of you agree with it, but I certainly think it’s also possible to argue that it was a bad call. That was my perspective, so I had to express it. I’m not a perfect person, and I f*ck up all the time. It’s a part of life.
I think Mario Yamasaki is one of the best in the world at refereeing MMA. No doubt about it.
He’s got great insight to the sport, he’s a life long martial artist, and he’s a really smart guy.
What I was acting from, is that I saw an incredible young talent get denied a KO victory for a questionable call. When I entered into the Octagon and was told of the official ruling that Silva was going to be disqualified for illegal blows to the back of the head everyone that I was around who heard the news opened their mouths in shock. Everyone said, “what?”
The people in the truck couldn’t believe it. I had to read it back to them because I thought it was a mistake, and when I leaned over to explain it to Goldie he couldn’t believe it either.
I had to ask Mario about it. I didn’t know how he was going to respond, but I had to ask him.”
Meanwhile it appears Rogan was not the only notable figure who disagreed with Yamasaki’s ruling, with UFC president Dana White stating at the post-fight press conference that he would be treating Erick Silva as if he had won the fight, including giving him his win bonus.
White also revealed that he would back Silva if he decided to challenge the decision.
Personally, though I also believe that Yamasaki got it wrong, I do think there was at least one blow that landed to back of Prater’s head so he wasn’t entirely without justification for DQ’ing him.
If it had been something that was happening repeatedly happening throughout the fight then it would put the matter in a whole different light, but considering the whole fight was over in less than 30 seconds and Prater was pretty much done before any potential illegal blow landed it was a bad call.
Nevertheless I felt sorry for Yamasaki and found it uncomfortable to watch him being questioned by Rogan about the decision immediately afterwards while the crowd gave him a hard time.
I’m all for referee’s having a chance to put forward their side of the story, but this wasn’t the right time to do it.