Chris Weidman suffered perhaps the most bizarre finish in years at UFC 210 in his co-main event fight with Gegard Mousasi. Confusion erupted in the second round over a knee thrown by Mousasi that was initially deemed illegal by the ref, who then stopped the action and allowed Weidman five minutes to recover. However, after checking the replay, the knee was deemed legal, as Weidman’s hand was lifted off the canvas prior to the knee connecting — meaning he was not a downed opponent when the strike landed. In New York, which has adopted the ABC’s new rules for MMA in 2017, a downed fighter must have two hands, palm or fist down, on the canvas.
To make matters worse for Weidman, ringside physicians deemed him unfit to continue the fight. As a result of the knee being deemed legal after review of the replay, the fight ended in a TKO victory for Mousasi, something that doesn’t sit well with Weidman. Aside from the initial confusion, the former middleweight champ points to the fact that replays are not allowed in New York.
Weidman recounted the situation in the cage at the post-fight press conference following the event, which took place at Buffalo’s Keybank Center Saturday night:
At first he [ref Dan Miragliotta] told me, pretty much for the whole time he was telling me it was an illegal knee, you have five minutes, take your time. So I thought I was going to win because of the illegal knee. Then they looked at a replay, he left the octagon and went replay and said it was a legal knee. But in the state of New York, you’re not allowed to look at replys, there’s no replays. So it’s a crappy situation.
It’s pretty cut and dry. My coaches are saying they’re calling it a TKO. It’s not like he hit me with a knee and I was all wobbly and got knocked out. I had my hands down, he [Miragliotta] stops it, tells me “illegal knee,” he warns him, I sit down, I’m being told that I have five minutes. Next thing I know, towards the latter part of that they’re saying “oh no it’s a legal knee.” I’ve been through way worse than that. If it was a legal knee, I’d have loved to just keep fighting.
The ref at the end of the day is the one that made the judgment call, and in the state of New York, his word is what counts. There’s no replay, you can’t go back to replay.
So where does Weidman (13-3), who has now lost three in a row, go from here? “I would love a rematch. I would love to get three rounds in. I feel like I was on my way to winning that fight” the New York native said. “Gegard has to be pissed too. He doesn’t want to win like that. I would have been pissed if they’d stopped it and I’d won the fight. I want a rematch right away.”
Fans in attendance would certainly seem to be on Weidman’s side, as the building erupted in a chorus of jeers and heckles after the fight was called off, then again when Mousasi was announced as the victor.
On whether he’ll appeal, Weidman was clear:
Yes, definitely. I want to appeal the decision, but I want a rematch.
Whether he gets his wish remains to be seen.