At UFC 256, Junior dos Santos lost his fourth consecutive fight by TKO when Ciryl Gane put him away in the second round with a devastating standing elbow. The problem is, Junior dos Santos is doubtless that the elbow was illegal and connected with the back of his head. As you can imagine, this has been a source of great aggravation for the former heavyweight champion, but the most frustrating part for dos Santos is that everyone seems to be taking it all in stride as if it’s acceptable. And the reason for this is because the athletic commission has deemed the elbow to be illegal for reasons that dos Santos firmly disputes.
“(The Athletic Commission) said it also connected to the ear so it’s valid, but it was his forearm, closer to the hand, that hit my ear, but the elbow connected exactly to the back to my head,” dos Santos told MMA Fighting. “I went out for a few seconds, and when I came back, it already was too late. I felt that pain in the head and looked to the big screen, where I saw the replay of the movement and it landing exactly to the back to the head.”
Junior dos Santos is not saying the blow was intentional, but lack of intent does not equate to a lack of a foul. Dos Santos also pointed to Gane’s reaction in the aftermath as being incongruous with the behavior of someone who had performed a legal strike.
“And I think Ciryl’s words were very… He will obviously try to go with the flow, but we spoke inside the octagon and I said it was an illegal strike and he kind of argued with his coach,” dos Santos said. “You’ll never admit doing something if you didn’t do something illegal.”
“And then he did that interview with Joe Rogan after he left the octagon. Joe Rogan asked him again if the strike was legal and he said he didn’t know. How come you don’t know if you’ve landed an illegal strike? It’s kind of an odd situation. You’d say it wasn’t illegal. And then he said at the press conference what the athletic commission told me, too, that the strike was legal because the forearm hit the ear. He said, “Oh, if the athletic commission say it’s legal, then it’s legal. He has to go with the flow because it benefits him.”
Junior dos Santos had a message for Ciryl Gane regarding his indifference and laughing it off, which is that someday what benefits him could hurt him if he is ever in the same situation as dos Santos is in. Furthermore, the 14-year MMA veteran had a message for anyone who believes that his grievance is all just a symptom of being a sore loser.
“The first thing people will say is ‘Junior doesn’t want to accept the loss, Junior doesn’t want to accept he has lost.’ Brother, I have no problem accepting I’ve lost,” dos Santos said. “The moment I got hit and the referee stopped it and I came back I was like, “damn, I’ve lost again,” but then I saw the replay and I thought “damn,” and the back of my head hurt, and that clearly shows he elbowed the back of my head, and you stop the fight in his favor? How come?
“People might say I’m crying, that I don’t want to accept defeat, when actually the defeat didn’t happen in a legal way,” dos Santos continued. “It was an illegal strike that didn’t allow me to continue fighting. I don’t know what the result would be and it doesn’t matter now because they put us in an absurd situation.”
You can judge for yourself if Gane’s elbow to dos Santos was illegal. Here is some photographic evidence provided by YouTube channel “Nick Diaz’s Army.”
What do you make of Junior dos Santos’ “illegal blow” argument against his loss to Ciryl Gane?