CABMMA Releases Statement Regarding Mario Yamasaki’s UFC Belem Officiating

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Mario Yamasaki
Image Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) was not going to be silent following UFC Belem.

In the co-main event of UFC Belem, Valentina Shevchenko took on Priscila Cachoeira. It was Shechenko’s debut at flyweight. Cachoeira was clearly outmatched and suffered a beating.

One-sided thrashings can certainly happen in MMA, but many criticized referee Mario Yamasaki for not stopping the fight sooner. In the second round, Shevchenko locked in a crucifix position. At this point, she hammered away and the fight could’ve easily been stopped. Yamasaki let the bout go on. Shevchenko locked in a rear-naked choke for the tap and Yamasaki was even late to break up the hold.

Below is CABMMA’s statement:

“The Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) has discussed the stoppage with referee Mario Yamasaki at the post-fight meeting held at venue with all of the officials assigned for the event. We made it clear all of our concerns regarding the incident.

Priscilla Cachoeira demonstrated toughness and heart during the two rounds but those are two attitudes that should not interfere or confuse the referee when it comes to stoppages. In the first round, in the last couple of minutes, it was clear that Priscilla could not defend herself efficiently nor technically. That reflected directly on the judges scores, all three giving it a 10-8. Round two was the same, but obviously with Priscilla not physically recovered enough from the previous round to demonstrate her chance against Valentina, the fight should have been called off right in the initial moments. And if the fight wasn’t called off, it would have been a clear 10-7, due to what we considered a overwhelming dominance and significant impact in the round.

As to the matchmaking, the fight was approved by CABMMA. If it was not well matched and that being evidently demonstrated during the fight, it should have been identified by the referee in charge, as he is the highest authority in that moment, whose role is to protect the fighter at all times including stopping the fight at the proper moment.

CABMMA understands that errors can occur from all aspects, but they should be recognized and corrected, to avoid similar cases in the future. And in a sport where the main concern is the fighter’s health and integrity, from the regulator’s standpoint we should do everything possible to minimize the risk of a scenario such as the one of this weekend.

Mario Yamasaki has been one of the best referees in MMA for the past decade and played a key role in helping our commission build the team of officials. We will discuss the next steps together and decide what is certainly best for all parts involved in the process.”

What do you think of the CABMMA’s statement? Tell us in the comments below.

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