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Mario Yamasaki on UFC stoppage controversy: I allowed Priscila Cachoeira 'to be a warrior'


The negative opinions on Mario Yamasaki’s controversial stoppage between Valentina Shevchenko and Prisicila Cachoeira have run rampant. Now the veteran referee is speaking his piece.

In the FS1-televised co-headliner at UFC Fight Night 125, promotional newcomer Cachoeira was thoroughly dominated by Shevchenko before tapping out to a rear-naked choke in the second round of their flyweight bout.

Social media lit up during the fight as Yamasaki’s reluctance to stop it was evident while Shevchenko battered and bloodied Cachoeira on the ground, securing crucifix and full-mount positions on more than one occasion. The firestorm grew after Yamasaki missed Cachoeira’s initial tapout.

Yamasaki, it seems, has paid attention to what’s been said about him since Saturday night and today responded.

“In the second round, I signaled to ‘Pedrita’ that if she didn’t move I’d stop the bout.” Yamasaki told MMAjunkie through a statement issued by his representative. “Every time I went to stop it, I signaled it to her, and she moved in an attempt to escape the blows. Unfortunately, I also can’t control the number of strikes that are thrown. Again, while she’s looking for a turnaround, she’s in the game. Fighters go through periods of great effort and dedication in order to be there. MMA is a contact sport, and no fighter likes to have the fight interrupted without a chance to reverse the outcome.

Mario Yamasaki looks on after Valentina Shevchenko’s win over Priscila Cachoeira.

“The way I see it, I allowed ‘Pedrita’ to be a warrior and keep fighting. I could have stopped the fight in the second crucifix or in the mount, but she was moving at all times. I also recognize I should have stopped it on the first tap of the rear-naked choke, and I only stopped a few seconds later. As for other people’s opinions, they (again) have their right to issue them.”

UFC President Dana White led the charge against Yamasaki on social media, saying in an Instagram post that he “should never set foot in an octagon again.” It wasn’t the first time White has criticized Yamasaki for his officiating.

Not all the criticism has been laid on the referee. The UFC also has come under fire for booking the bout between a promotional newcomer and a former bantamweight title challenger, though White has scoffed at the notion.

Cachoeira’s corner also has felt some heat for refusing to throw in the towel, but “Zombie Girl” came out and defended her team Sunday.

“Those on the outside don’t know anything to criticize it,” Cachoeira said on Instagram. “This isn’t master and student. It’s father and daughter. And no one can say how he’s supposed to treat me. As for throwing the towel: This is (team) PRVT, and we’re the ones who know my limits. Throwing the towel, never.”

Cachoeira, who faces a six-month medical suspension, likely will be out longer because of a torn ACL and meniscus suffered in the loss.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 125, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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