"No kick, no kick!"
Those were the audible instructions that the referee appeared to issue to Zorobabel Moreira moments before he unleashed the savage coup de grace, a soccer kick, to Roger Huerta's head this past weekend (June 23, 2012) at ONE FC 4: "Destiny of Warriors" at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Prior to delivering the brutal blow, which is legal under the rules adopted by the Asian mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, Moreira seemed to look at the referee for permission. Or, to determine whether or not he was going to intervene and save the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran from enduring more senseless abuse.
In those few decision-making seconds, which felt like an eternity (watch the .gif here) something seemed to be lost in translation. That's because, despite what appeared to be instructions to the contrary, Moreira tells MMAWeekly.com that he threw the soccer kick because the referee "gave him a signal."
Check it out:
"Before I threw it, I looked at referee and he gave me signal and I threw it.... Roger is a very tough fighter so I had to do everything to win this fight and when I had a chance to knock him out I had to take it.... For ONE FC rules, the fighter must wait for the open attack signal that allows soccer kicks. The referee gave the signal and I took the kick. Roger is very dangerous opponent and if you fight against very good fighter like this and you have opportunity to finish the fight you must take it, otherwise maybe you lose. He has fought UFC and is strong and tough, if you have a chance to finish a fight against an opponent like this you must take or who knows what may happen after? Maybe if you wait you lose."
It seems crystal clear, from his recitation of the rules to the video replay, that Moreira was well aware of what is (and isn't) a legal blow. The problem here appears to be the "signal" that Moreira interpreted from the referee as a green light to punt Huerta's head into the front row.
Unless, of course, what the referee really said was, "low kick, low kick!"
Not really sure what it was or wasn't, but moving forward, the ONE FC fighters and the officials need to somehow get on the same page before a fighter sustains irreversible damage.