Veteran referee Mario Yamasaki has defended his decision to wave off Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza’s fight at UFC On FOX 24 on Saturday night, which resulted in Robert Whittaker claiming a hugely important TKO victory.

Whittaker had dropped the Brazilian star earlier in the second round of the fight, then had him badly hurt once again due to a head kick, with follow-up punches then sinking him to the canvas.

As Whittaker rained down ground and pound to seal the deal, the still dazed Jacare managed to roll to his knees, yet Yamasaki decided he’d seen enough, and on reflection he believes that was the right call – even if some fans aren’t happy about it.

“I talk to a lot of people about Gary Goodridge, Eder Jofre and (Adilson) ‘Maguila’, who suffer from dementia pugilistica, that people don’t know how dangerous is to get unnecessary punches,” Yamasaki told MMA Fighting. “I’m following my ethic, and also the athletic commission. Everyone from the athletic commission praised me, but fans didn’t like it. They say I don’t like Brazilians, blah blah blah. I’m the referee, I have to follow the rules.

“Watching on the TV, it might give you the impression that I could have let it go a little longer, but you can’t see his eyes. The TV doesn’t show that,” Yamasaki explained. “He was hurt. He would only eat more punches, and it was my decision to make sure he was safe since he couldn’t defend himself anymore. Let him go back up to get punched three times and go out, why would that do him any good?”

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