Jeremy Stephens had to defend his latest win as many people have different views on it.
As seen in the main event of UFC on FOX 28 that took place on Saturday night (February 24, 2018) at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on FOX, Stephens appeared to land an illegal knee to Josh Emmett while attempting to finish him that ultimately lead to a second-round knockout.
During that sequence, there were also two elbows that Stephens threw that landed to the back of Emmett’s head.
Referee Dan Miragliotta did not react to the potential fouls at the moment but instead, let the action continue.
Stephens spoke with media reporters after the show and explained (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting) his decision to throw the knee by saying that the referee told him backstage that such a strike is allowed by the Florida athletic commission.
“The referee, Dan Miragliotta, came in the back, he said, ‘This is the new unified rules, that if two hands are down, you can lift one hand up [and be able] to knee. That’s okay.’ So if he’s on his knees and one hand is up, it’s okay to throw a knee,” Stephens said Saturday on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. “I’m not a dirty fighter. I never have been, my whole life. I saw an opportunity, I was looking for it.
“I saw exactly what he was going to do. I knew that he was rocked, he had two hands [on the ground], he lifted his hand up and I saw the moment and that’s when I threw the knee. I don’t think the knee even landed, it’s not what hurt him. There was a lot more damage followed up after that. He was even rocked before that. But he did lift his hands and I waited for that hand, and I tried to take advantage of that opportunity. It didn’t land, I missed, but those are the rules in this specific state. I’m not a dirty fighter.”
“Guys, look, I’m going for the finish here,” Stephens said. “I’m looking to elbow, elbow. If they turn their head, the ref will tell you it’s okay because he’s turning his head, so make the adjustment. In that moment, I’m elbowing, elbowing, looking for it. He looked under and I nailed [him with] a couple. When I fought (Doo Ho) Choi, I elbowed the referee in the back of the head, he jumped in front. I’m not a dirty fighter. I am a killer, I train to finish, I’m going for it, I’m landing big shots there. I don’t mean to hit people in the back of the head, but if they turn, it’s not my problem.”
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