Referee Marc Goddard has come forward to provide an explanation for his controversial stoppage in the Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey fight at UFC 234.
Marc Goddard called a stop to the fight in the first round when Sam Alvey failed to adequately respond to strikes raining down from Jim Crute. Alvey was able to cover up for most of the strikes while downed and issued a thumbs up to Goddard to inform the referee that he was still aware and in the fight. Goddard would stop the fight regardless, which drew an irate response from Alvey, who immediately shot up in protest of the decision. Dana White would side with the UFC veteran, also believing that it was a poor stoppage from Goddard.
Marc Goodard has now come forward to provide his account of events and walk the public through his train of thought prior to the stoppage (Via MMA Fighting):
“It wasn’t one, two or three shots I’m jumping in and stopping,” Goddard told MMA Fighting. “It was 16. Sixteen shots. And at that point, I’m taking into assessment, I think he’s hurt and not recovered from the original knockdown. I think he’s hurt, I see his head on the mat, I see the shots coming in and I make my call.
“When Sam gets dropped, I run in and my focus, my peripheral vision then becomes tunneled,” Goddard said. “My eye sight is honed in on one person and that one person is Sam Alvey. What I’m looking for as I run is if Sam can give me a glimmer, show me something that tells me he’s still there. Something that’s gonna allow me to let the fight to continue. He does, he gets back up, he’s clearly wobbled.
“Of course I’m running in to stop it, because that’s my job. I don’t want Sam to take an unnecessary follow up if he doesn’t have to. My mind is going 100 miles an hour as I’m running in. I’ll assess it in real time and then I’ll back off, because I know I’m gonna give Sam that chance. He gets that chance to stay in the fight.”
As for the thumbs up, which is usually a safety net for fighters who fear a potential stoppage, this did not factor into Marc Goddard’s decision for one clear reason:
“At the same time, as I’m doing that, people are saying, ‘Didn’t you see Sam’s thumb up?’ No, I didn’t. Wholly and honestly, I didn’t see his thumb up, because his arm is outstretched and my focus, my vision is on where these shots are trying to land.”
In today’s day and age, it is rare that you’ll find someone publicly admit to a mistake unprompted, but Marc Goddard would confess that in hindsight, he could have handled the situation differently:
“Going back and looking at it again, if I could run it back again, yeah I would have taken a half step back. I would have let another two shots or three shots play out. And I’m gonna put it down to a mistake. I’m big and ugly enough to do that.”
If you were in Marc Goddard’s shoes, how would you have handled the situation at the end of the Jim Crute/Sam Alvey fight at UFC 234?