Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra let his feelings known about the referee of the Demian Maia – Kamaru Usman fight.
As seen in the main event of UFC Chile on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile on FOX Sports 1, Usman was able to defeat former title contender by unanimous decision.
After the fight, Usman went on record by stating that he believes he deserves a title shot as a result of the biggest win thus far in his pro-MMA career.
During the latest episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast, the former champion stated that he believes Maia got “screwed” by referee Leon Roberts because he could have cost Maia the fight.
The moment that he’s talking about is when the referee decided to separate the two fighters during the first round of the five-round fight. At that moment, Maia nearly had Usman’s back along the cage.
“This is the thing, he had his back,” said Serra (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). “I was not surprised the way things went after that. You have one shot sometimes in a fight like this, especially because he didn’t have a camp. People do not understand. That’s why I predicted a first-round choke by Demian Maia. He was on his way there.
“They weren’t just holding each other up against the cage. It might have looked like it but Kamaru had an overhook and that overhook was the only thing stopping Demian from taking that back. It was a very awkward position where [Usman] was not getting out of that. The only way he could look to free himself was to let go and expose his back. Otherwise, you’re just stalling. Now, could he keep that up for another minute and 15 seconds or whatever it was? Maybe. If so, alright, let’s see what happens in round two. Or, with thirty seconds left, he could try to scramble and still get strangled.
“Just in the montage before he walks out look at how many times he’s strangled guy – powerful wrestlers like Rick Story, gutty, gritty guys who do not tap easily like Carlos Condit or Matt Brown. This is not a coincidence. So for [Roberts] to take away his one shot, Leon Roberts, you should be ashamed of yourself and I think you possibly could have cost him the fight. Leon, you f**ked up, Leon. You really did.”
This was an important fight for Maia. Maia suffered a unanimous decision loss to UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley after five lackluster rounds at the UFC 214. This loss snapped his seven-fight winning streak, which included a notable first-round submission of ex-interim-champ Carlos Condit.
He then suffered a unanimous decision loss to Colby Covington in the co-main event of UFC Sao Paulo
“Are you getting influenced because you’re maybe hearing some boos in the crowd or something?” said Serra. “Your job is not to make this s**t entertaining. It’s one thing if a guy is stalling.
“I get worked up because Demian Maia took that fight like a f**king warrior and he saved that card and he had his position, he had what he wanted. He was this close! We don’t know what would have happened!”
“I am so livid! I’m livid over this ref!” exclaimed Serra. “This was his shot and he had him in a position! People can say what they want, that ref screwed him. Maybe he would have rode out the round but you never know. It was such a horrible thing to do to him because he never got that position back.”
What are your thoughts on Serra’s comments? Sound off in the comment section below.