Junior Maranhao collapsed after the end of the fourth round at RFA 14 main event, and was allowed to continue fighting, but he says there are no reasons for controversy.
Maranhao fought Matt Manzanares for the vacant RFA flyweight title on Friday night at the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center in Cheyenne, Wy., and survived a tight triangle choke for 30 seconds at the end of round four. He fell off his stool when he returned to his corner, but his coaches Jorge Patino and Ericson Cardozo helped him to get back up.
"It probably looked shocking for some, but it was kind of normal to me," Maranhao told MMAFighting.com. "I know that that image is impressive, but I was fine."
Maranhao blames the referee for what happened, but guarantees he was never out.
"I was in that triangle for a long time," he said. "The referee told us to stop but then he let the fight continue, and that was when (Manzanares) locked the triangle. I was dizzy (when the round ended). When I went back to my corner to sit down, I kind of missed the stool and fell with my face on the ground. My corners stood me back up and I was okay. I was dizzy, that’s it. It may look that I was out, but that’s not what happened.
"I came back and I won the fifth round, and I don’t understand the reason for this controversy," he continued. "I know that the image is shocking, but we’ve seen worse things in the UFC, guys that go out and get back. I think that the doctors made the right call. I think I would have gone crazy if they had stopped the fight."
Wyoming State Board issued a statement to FanSided guaranteeing that Maranhao "was thoroughly examined by a licensed physician after he fell off his stool between the 4th and 5th round" and he was "medically safe to and capable of finishing the fight", but the Brazilian seems confused about what happened.
"No, they came to talk to me and do the exams after (the fight)," he said.
Maranhao left the phone for a second to ask his coaches if the doctor really entered the cage to check on him in between rounds.
"They came in between the rounds and asked if I was okay," Maranhao changed his story. "And right after the event, the commission and the doctors did all the exams as well.
"I saw that some people are trying to blame the commission, the promoters or even my coaches, so I’m really upset about it," he continued. "I want to make clear that nothing happened. It’s a mistake (to blame them), and it can hurt us."
Despite all the controversy, Maranhao went the distance and lost the bout via split decision. He thinks he did enough to get his hands raised after the bout and wants to rematch Manzanares.
"Everybody saw how the fifth round was," he said. "I won the fight, no doubt about it, but they took my title because of that thing. I didn’t lose that fight, and I already asked for a rematch. I want to fight him again as soon as possible. I’m ready to fight again and prove that I didn’t lose that fight."