Athletic Commission Issues Ruling On Last Weekend’s Most Controversial Ref Stoppage In UFC History

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was in Atlantic City, New Jersey to host the highly anticipated fight card of UFC Fight Night 128. While the fight night offered a series of exciting match ups, the night did not go without its controversy.

Ricky Simon and Merab Dvalishvili faced off in a battle for division dominance on the night’s card. Dvalishvili seemed to be getting the better of his opponent for much of the fight, but found himself in a guillotine choke within the final round.

Simon attempted to finish his opponent, but Dvalishvili never tapped. Beyond that, the referee never called a stop to the contest.

After the sound of the fight ending bell, many fight fans seemingly expected a decision to be called out. Rather, the octagon was quickly flooded with officials discussing the fight’s outcome.

It was ultimately decided that Dvalishvili was choked unconscious after the bell. Simon was then granted a TKO victory over his opponent.

Dvalishvili would go on to appeal the fight’s conclusion. However, things simply did not go the fighter’s way.

The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) have denied the fighter’s appeal of the result, as the TKO finish will stand. News source MMA Fighting has since provided a letter from the Commissioner Larry Hazzard, Sr. on the matter.

Check it out below:

“In summary, I do not find that Mr. Kerrigan committed a self-evident and palpable error; or even any error which comes close to that standard. Solely because a decision is disputed does not make such facially incorrect.”

“I was cageside and formed my own opinion that the conclusion was correct. This was only reinforced as I watched the large monitor which was supplied in front of my cageside seat. Referee Marc Goddard provided his input to me cageside after he heard Counsel Lembo calling for the collection of the judges cards and the scoring of the third round. Mr. Lembo was of the opinion that the fight should be scored. There is nothing untoward about Goddard providing his input. “Polling” of cageside officials is an accepted practice. However, in this case, it may be irrelevant, as Goddard was only in agreement with Kerrigan’s original call and my review. There was no disagreement with Goddard about the attempt to determine the proper victor.”

“Please be reminded that we do not need multiple seconds of unconsciousness. Also note that it is common for a contestant to have a momentary loss of consciousness but no recollection of such.”

“We fully are aware of the disparity of the viewpoints of the declared outcome. This is true even after days of discussion by fans and media and countless video reviews. I can only state that Kerrigan was unwavering in his call, and that I believed him to be correct, or at least well within his discretion to make such a call. Despite the variety of opinions, we note that veteran referee Marc Goddard was cageside and agreed with the call. Furthermore, the most experienced referee in the sport’s history, John McCarthy (who watched offsite via television) felt that the outcome was just and proper.”

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