July 11, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Chris Weidman (right) defeats Mark Munoz (left) in the middleweight bout of the UFC on Fuel TV at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
In his fifth fight under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner, "All American" took down, controlled and eventually elbowed a small canyon into Munoz's skull to remain undefeated in his three-year career.
How did it come about?
"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" swung with a huge right hook, but was caught with a short counter elbow from Weidman. He dropped to the canvas, face-first, and the ending came soon after.
The problem is that ending didn't come soon enough.
Munoz was forced to absorb needless punishment as a result of referee Josh Rosenthal's failure to stop the bout at an appropriate time. Weidman threw and landed no less than 17 punches once the fight hit the mat, an absolutely insane amount of unnecessary damage.
So what can we do to prevent this from happening again?
Before we dive into that discussion, please know I'm not looking to neuter the sport with unneeded rules and regulations. Some may call it mixed martial arts (MMA), but at its core, it's a fight. I watch MMA to see two people fight and I make no bones about it.
But, seeing a man with a loose grasp on consciousness taking punch after punch because the referee is failing to properly do his job isn't what I signed up for.
And what is the referee's job? It's to enforce the rules and protect the safety of the fighters.
Rosenthal utterly failed in the second aspect.
There doesn't seem to be any process in order for these kinds of situations. I have no idea if Rosenthal will or even could be subject to any kind of sanctions. Can he be fined? Suspended?
If he can't, perhaps it's about time to start holding referees accountable when they screw up inside the Octagon. It's more than a matter of winning and losing for the other two inside the cage with them, it's about a fighter's health.
You can't tell me Munoz is better off now for having taken a dozen or so more punches than he should have.
What's more disturbing is Rosenthal is a mainstay in the UFC. We're not talking about a newcomer to the game. He was inside the Octagon when Brock Lesnar took a pounding from Shane Carwin and was lauded for allowing to let the fight to continue.
The difference between the UFC 116 main event and last night's main event was Lesnar continued to work when Rosenthal threatened to stop the bout, while I doubt Munoz was even cognizant anyone was talking to him while getting bombed from above by Weidman.
Being a referee is often a thankless job and more often than not, their mistakes are amplified while the instances of them performing well are ignored.
There are countless cases of Rosenthal performing his duties as a referee admirably. But, last night was a glaring example of when referees can literally put a fighter's well being at risk.