Mario Yamasaki Statement Addressing UFC Belem Fiasco

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Mario Yamasaki
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Once again, referee Mario Yamasaki has to explain himself following a bout in which his officiating was called into question.

This time, he has released a statement on his role in the beatdown of Priscila Cachoeira at UFC Belem. Yamasaki officiated the bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Cachoeira. Shevchenko beat her opponent down from pillar to post.

It was the second round that drew the ire of many fans. Cachoeira appeared to be defenseless on numerous occasions off her back. This included two crucifix positions in which Shevchenko hammered away. Yamasaki didn’t stop the fight, so Shevchenko locked in a rear-naked choke to force the tap. Yamasaki was even late on stopping the fight there.

The Response

The referee sent the following statement to MMAFighting.com:

“During the second round, I signaled to ‘Pedrita’ that if she didn’t move I’d stop the fight, and every time I’d stop, I told her and she moved to try to escape from the punches. Unfortunately, I also can’t control the number of blows thrown — again, when a fighter is trying to come back she’s game.

Fighters go through times of hard effort and dedication to be there. MMA is a contact sport and no fighter likes his fight to be stopped with no chance to revert the result. In my opinion, I allowed Pedrita to be a warrior and keep fighting. I could have stopped the fight in the second crucifix or in the mount, but she moved the whole time.

I also recognize that I should have stopped when she tapped the first time to the rear-naked choke. I only stopped a few seconds later.

About other people’s opinions, it’s their right to say.”

It didn’t take long for UFC president Dana White to blast Yamasaki. This is far from the first time controversy has followed the official. Last year at UFC Fight Night 105, Yamasaki allowed Derrick Lewis to hit Travis Browne with several shots even though “Hapa” was already out.

At UFC Fight Night 83 back in 2016, Alex Oliveira had to tap several times in Donald Cerrone’s triangle for Yamasaki to finally call a stop to the bout.