MONTREAL -- UFC president Dana White voiced frustration at the officiating job done in the UFC 154 matchup between Patrick Cote and Alessio Sakara which ended in a disqualification loss for Sakara for illegal strikes to the back of the head.
White's anger stemmed from referee Dan Miragliotta's failure to call a timeout at any moment during a sequence of blows that landed in the forbidden area. If Miragliotta had stopped it earlier, Cote may have had a chance to recover, offering the fight a chance to continue. Instead, he was badly hurt by the strikes and the fight was waved off before the disqualification ruling was made.
"Way late," he said of Miragliotta's stoppage. "I haven't heard anything about [Cote] that he's not OK but that was a horrible job. I counted between seven and nine illegal punches to the back of the head. It was crazy. He was just standing there watching it. Didn't jump in, didn't do anything. And I'm pretty sure, I think it should’ve been no contest, not awarded to Cote, but a no contest. But, horrible, really bad."
The fight lasted just 86 seconds.
White said he would like to put a rematch together when possible. Cote appeared OK afterward, coming back out to the arena floor later on to watch some of the main card bouts.
The ruling on the no contest is likely to be appealed by Sakara's camp, but Quebec's commission rules do state that a referee can "warn a competitor, penalize by points or disqualify without prior notice" depending on the foul committed.
Miragliotta reportedly re-watched the video at cageside before offering his final decision.
"I do respect that," White said. "I do like the fact that they pulled the trigger and made a decision one way or the other. Don't take me wrong, I'm not knocking them for what they did. I'm just saying that normally that would be a no contest. But I like commissions that get in there and pull the trigger, because that was a horrible, horrible job by the ref. It's mind-boggling how you sit there and watch that many punches go to the back of someone’s head. It's crazy."