Following a chaotic and controversial ending to his UFC 210 fight, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman will indeed file an appeal with the New York State Athletic Commission.
In Saturday’s pay-per-view co-main event at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y., Weidman (13-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) suffered a second-round TKO loss to Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2 MMA, 9-3 UFC). However, Mousasi’s fight-ending knee strikes are at the center of the debate.
Weidman’s manager, Audie A. Attar, told newsday.com he plans to file the fighter’s appeal today. Immediately after UFC 210, Weidman first said an appeal was likely.
The fight, which resulted in Weidman’s third straight loss, was thrown into disarray in the second round. Referee Dan Miragliotta halted the action and warned Mousasi about a pair of knee strikes that appeared to be illegal because Weidman, who had initially attempted a takedown, had both of his hands on the mat, which constituted a downed fighter.
Replays, though, appeared to show one of Weidman’s hands being forced off the mat just prior to Mousasi delivering what proved a fight-ending knee to the head. Thus, since Weidman apparently had one hand off the mat at the time of the blow, it was a legal blow.
Miragliotta, who initially deemed it illegal and offered Weidman five minutes to recover, then consulted with cageside officials, including fellow ref John McCarthy, who had seen the replays. The blow was then deemed legal. Miragliotta then referred to cageside physicians, who said the fight couldn’t continue because of Weidman’s dazed state, and Mousasi was declared the TKO winner at the 3:13 mark of the round.
New York commission officials haven’t commented on the controversial bout.
After the event, Weidman, a New Yorker who was a central figure in the push for the state to lift its longtime MMA ban in 2016, suggested the veteran ref overstepped his bounds by relying on in-arena replays since the state doesn’t use instant replay.
“I thought I was going to win because of the illegal knee,” Weidman, who’s No. 5 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, said following the event. “(The ref) left the octagon and looked at a replay, and said it was a legal knee. But in the state of New York, there are no replays. So it’s a crappy situation.
“If it was a legal knee, I would have loved to have just kept fighting. It shouldn’t have been stopped, but the ref, at the end of the day, is the one who made a judgement call, and in the state of New York, his word is what counts. There’s no replay.”
UFC 210 was the fourth UFC event in New York since the MMA ban was lifted. However, UFC President Dana White said improvement is needed.
“With the (NYSAC), it’s like we’re in 2001 again,” White said after UFC 210. “These guys haven’t done big MMA fights. These guys have to get some experience.
“As a fighter, I say it all the time: You’ve got to be on your toes and ready to go. Many, many times, even in great states like Nevada, not only are you battling your opponent, you’re battling the ref and judges and anybody else who has any type of power over the fight. You’ve got to go in there and fight to win, fight to finish.”
Despite Weidman’s calls for a rematch, White wasn’t ready to commit to one. Additionally, with the dubious victory, No. 7-ranked Mousasi fulfilled the terms of his current UFC deal and now enters free agency. He said he prefers to stay with the UFC but wants better pay and a title shot. He also wasn’t exactly sympathetic to Weidman’s plight.
“I have a lot of respect for Weidman,” he said. “I don’t want to badmouth him. But if you want to play smart and take advantage of the rules, that’s not my fault. If you want to put your hand down so I cannot knee you or take it up, you’re fighting. Don’t try to take advantage of the rules.
“At the end of the day, it was legal. That’s what everyone says now. I don’t make the rules. I felt he didn’t want to continue. I think everyone saw that. How is that my fault? I don’t give a (expletive). I won. I like the guy, and he’s a tough opponent, but at the end of the day, he didn’t want to fight.”
For complete coverage of UFC 210, check out the UFC Events section of the site.
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