Referee Mario Yamasaki (right) explains his decision for stopping the welterweight bout between Erick Silva and Carlo Prater during UFC 142 on Jan. 14 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Josh Hedges via Zuffa LLC/Getty Images.
When the fight was stopped between Erick Silva and Carlo Prater, who battled on the main card of the UFC 142: "Aldo vs. Mendes" pay-per-view event back on Jan. 14 in Rio, most of the fans both at home and in attendance thought it was another first round win for the fast-rising "Indio."
Following the stoppage, referee Mario Yamasaki awarded Prater the win by disqualification, citing repeated blows to the back of "Neo's" head, despite warning Silva to keep 'em clean.
UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, who was amidst the post-fight confusion waiting for his opportunity to interview Silva, confronted Yamasaki on live television and asked him to explain his decision against the big screen replay, which appeared to exonerate the Brazilian from excessive fouls.
It was conduct that was "completely unethical" from a "swagger" who walks amongst fighters, according to comments Prater made to Brazil's SporTV (translated by Eduardo Cruz):
"I think in the end I was made out as a villain. I wasn't laying on the Octagon floor for nothing after the fight. I want that to be clear. I had to stay in the hospital until Monday. They (UFC) asked me not to go public because, indeed, that wouldn't do any good for me or Eric. In my opinion, [referee] Mario (Yamasaki) did the right thing. It's been a long time since rules have been implemented. You are not allowed to do anything you want inside the cage. Watching the fight video I could see at least nine blows to the back of the head. I think the way Joe Rogan behaved was completely unethical. He went with the crowd. A real professional doesn't do that. He was acting like a fan when he should be acting as a broadcaster. Mario is a million times more competent than him. He's been living off this for 20 years. Joe Rogan is just a swagger, someone who walks amongst fighters but isn't really a fighter himself. He doesn't understand. Whatever ... human beings make mistakes and I am not going to be holding grudges against him. I felt really strong strikes to the back of the neck and my right shoulder. They were really painful, shock-like sensations. I was trying to take Erick to the ground on instinct. But I couldnt because it was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. Like my nerves were in shock. I was really scared, I though I had torn something."
Rogan insists he meant no disrespect, but rather felt he "had a responsibility to address the issue" because he "represents the people watching at home that might have obvious questions."
Questions like, "Why did Silva lose?"
Some fans took him to task for calling out Yamasaki, who was forced to make a judgement call in real time, without the benefit of instant replay. Others, however, felt it was an appropriate line of questioning.
We certainly know how Prater feels.