Everyone knows that the officials in any sport are human and make mistakes, but in the world of combat sports this can be a dangerous thing. The first fight of the night at UFC 96 saw a very early stoppage, when Shane Nelson was awarded a TKO victory over Aaron Riley, just forty-four seconds in. The greater travesty on the night was committed by Yves Lavigne during the Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell fight. Lavigne stepped in as if to stop the fight, allowed the fight to continue, then let the fight go on entirely too long. In response to the criticisms he has received, Lavigne spoke to Around the Octagon on Monday, admitting that he made a mistake:
“I screwed up. There’s not much to say. I screwed up the fight. I made a rookie mistake at the beginning and stopped it way too soon. I kind of restarted the fight. It wasn’t over at that point and I made the decision to look like a fool and say ok, keep going. I may have deprived Mr. Brown of an early victory but we’ll never know because of me.”
“I feel really bad. Fighters deserve the best. Instead of talking about Mr. Browns great win people are talking about a ref. Mr. Brown won with athleticism and tools he has and I’m taking the spotlight away because of my mistake. I feel really bad about it. He deserves better. He worked hard for that win.”
Lavigne insists that the stoppage in the earlier fight between Riley and Nelson had nothing to do with his actions, “No, not at all, it was not me in that fight. It’s my fault.”
After the fight Lavigne went to the back and checked on Sell, “Mr. Sell was ok, according to him and said I should’ve let it go.” Lavigne says. “I went to talk to him to see if he was ok. I do that on a regular basis after the fight. Sometimes with the adrenaline they tell the doctor they are ok but sometime later they are not. He really was ok.”
When asked if he talked to Dana White after the fight Lavigne responded, “I don’t talk to Dana White. The longest conversation I have ever had with him is hello and goodbye. I don’t work for him. I work for the Athletic Commission.