UFC 159 had many strange situations last night but it was referee Kevin Mulhall’s stoppage of a fight between Ovince St. Preux that Gian Villante that drew UFC president Dana White’s ire. White stated after the fight that he would like to see some rule changes to the Unified Code of MMA.
“It was terrible,” White said at the evening’s post-event press conference. “He should have had a doctor come in. You stop the fight, you send the guy to a neutral corner, you have the doctor come in and check him out, and you have the doctor determine whether he’s able to fight or not. That’s what should have happened.”
In the interest of fairness to referee Kevin Muhall, he technically did nothing wrong in his handling of the situation. In a rule oddity, accidental eye-pokes are not afforded the same treatment as other fouls that result in the fighter being given five minutes to recover. Making matters worse, Muhall was also technically obligated to call the fight the minute Villante said the phrase “I cannot see.”
Referee “Big” John McCarthy weighed in on the situation via twitter:
From the eye poke. U can use the doctor 2 help in giving the fighter time 2 clear their vision.There is no need to rush in this situation
— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) April 28, 2013
Dana White hoped the Association of Boxing Commissions would consider multiple rule changes in the wake of the situation, “What needs to happen is the [Association of Boxing Commissions] needs to get together, and we need to come up with a few things,” White said. “We really do need to revamp some rules and regs. I think obviously the eye poke thing is a big deal. We need to talk about that. And the other thing is this three-point (rule). I don’t like this three-point thing where you can’t get kneed if you have your finger on the ground. That’s not what the rule was meant for, so I think we’re due.”
Despite the call, Villante appeared more upset that he suffered a loss rather than that the fight was stopped. Said Villante:
“He said the fight was over and I didn’t expect that because I was just reacting to his question. I got poked and my eye was closed up so I thought he would stop it but he didn’t he just kind of looked at me. I don’t understand how you score thirty seconds of a round and that’s how I lost?”
Be sure to check out MMAFrenzy’s full coverage of UFC 159.
Photo Credit: Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports