gian-villante-4.jpgNEWARK, N.J. – Saturday night’s UFC 159 event in Newark, N.J., will always be remembered as a card full off odd happenings. But it was a controversial call in one of the evening’s preliminary bouts that had UFC President Dana White most appalled.

“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.”

White was referring to a preliminary contest between Ovince St. Preux (13-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Gian Villante (10-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC), which saw the two Strikeforce veterans battle back and forth for two rather uneventful rounds until things took an odd turn in the final frame. Less than a minute into the round, a blatant (albeit inadvertent) St. Preux eye poke saw Villante clutch his face in obvious discomfort. Referee Kevin Mulhall initially hesitated to call for a timeout but then swiftly moved in to inspect the damage.

When he reached Villante, Mulhall asked the light heavyweight if he could see. While it’s common knowledge in the fight game that a negative answer leaves the referee no choice but to call the fight, Villante admitted he was struggling to maintain clear vision. Mulhall immediately waved off the fight.

In the Unified Rules of MMA, eye pokes are not technically afforded any recovery time, making the handling of the blows different than, for instance, a groin shot, in which the victimized fighter is given up to five minute to recover. Still, crafty referees will often find a way to pad the process, as one of the sport’s most-respected veterans, “Big” John McCarthy, explained Saturday night on Twitter.

“U can use the doctor 2 help in giving the fighter time 2 clear their vision,” McCarthy wrote. “There is no need to rush in this situation.”

While White was not privy to McCarthy’s evaluation of the situation prior to his comments, the UFC boss offered a similar recommendation.

“The guy said, ‘Can you see?’” White said. “[Villante] said, ‘I can’t see,’ so he stopped the fight. He’s like, ‘I can’t see because I just got poked in the f—ing eye. Give me a minute.’”

Unfortunately, Mulhall’s decision was made, and with the fight in the third round, judges were asked to render a result. St. Preux was awarded a decision win, much to the dismay of Villante.

White said he didn’t necessarily blame the commission for the result, instead insisting he views the New Jersey Athletic Control Board as one of the best commissions in the country. However, he did say it was probably time to look at revising the rules associated with eye pokes, not to mention the long-controversial definition of a grounded opponent – the text that allows standing fighters to put a hand on the mat to avoid being struck with kicks or knees to the head when working in tight quarters.

“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.”

While a rule change will be of little comfort to Villante, it could prevent future issues. In the meantime, current UFC No. 1 middleweight contender Chris Weidman, a teammate of Villante’s who worked his corner during the fight, said the team may appeal the result.

“Gian Villante got screwed,” Weidman told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “Hopefully we can get some type of protest going and get this thing changed.”

For complete coverage of UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

(Pictured: Gian Villante)

Christian Stein contributed to this report.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Yoel Romero calls controversial post-fight statements a 'misunderstanding about gay marriage'

  • 10 days ago
  • 15 views

Yoel Romero had a rant seemingly about being anti-gay marriage. He addressed the media and says it was all a misunderstanding. Shortly after beating Lyoto Machida, Yoel Romero took the mic and went o read news >>

Luke Rockhold calls Fabricio Werdum 'delusional, self-absorbed, fake, coward,' and more

  • 26 days ago
  • 57 views

MEXICO CITY -- Luke Rockhold discusses his upcoming fight against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, the chances he meets Weidman in New York, how it would feel to fight Weidman in his home sta read news >>

UFC 188 video: Fabricio Werdum calls Luke Rockhold a 'nobody'

  • 26 days ago
  • 40 views

The trash talking before UFC 188's big heavyweight title fight continues in this third episode of Embedded. Here's the third episode of UFC 188 Embedded and there's more trash talking from heavyweigh read news >>

Matt Mitrione calls out Travis Browne for UFC battle of 'elite strikers'

  • 26 days ago
  • 1 views

Matchmaking made easy, presented by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Matt Mitrione. Not surprisingly, "Meathead" is in a big hurry to erase his "stupid" first-round submission loss to read news >>

Tweet of the Day: Matt Mitrione calls out Travis Browne

  • 27 days ago
  • 38 views

UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione is looking to get back into the cage soon, and he chose to call out Travis Browne on Twitter today. Matt Mitrione didn't take long to getting back to calling people out read news >>

Peter Aerts officially retires: Kickboxing legend calls it quits after 30 years

  • 27 days ago
  • 12 views

The Dutch Lumberjack is hanging them up - K-1 legend of the sport Peter Aerts has officially retired. Get the details here. Kickboxing legend Peter Aerts has officially hung up his gloves. The 44 yea read news >>

Cain Velasquez calls Fabricio Werdum 'two-faced' after breakfast incident

  • 27 days ago
  • 53 views

MEXICO CITY -- Cain Velasquez apparently doesn’t see the humor in Fabricio Werdum’s quip that he’s more Mexican than Velasquez himself.One day after Werdum made the comment about the UFC heavyweight read news >>

How phone calls from prison and a team reunion fuel UFC 188 underdog Chico Camus

  • 27 days ago
  • 3 views

UFC flyweight Chico Camus left behind a life of gangs, drugs, and violence to find his calling as an MMA fighter. Against Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo at UFC 188, he’ll get his best – and tough read news >>

Ben Rothwell blasts Dana White: 'UFC doesn't give a sh-t about me'

  • 27 days ago
  • 17 views

"Big Ben" spitting that fire again! With Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) putting on a record number of shows every year, it's hard for Dana White to attend every single one of them like he was a read news >>

Ben Rothwell tries to get Dana White's attention: 'UFC kind of doesn't give a s--- about me'

  • 27 days ago
  • 31 views

Ben Rothwell's evening at UFC Fight Night 68 could scarcely have gone better. The heavyweight contender turned heads with a Darth Vader-like walkout; dazzled in the Octagon with a quick submission of read news >>