Question: Did referee Kim Winslow step in too quickly to stop the fight when Cat Zingano was unloading knees, punches, and elbows on Miesha Tate in the third round of their fight at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 Finale last night (Sat., April 13, 2013) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada?
If you answered "yes," you share the same viewpoint as Tate, who is absolutely pissed at the way the bout played out. She let that be known in explicit detail at the post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting):
"I haven't had a chance to actually go back and watch it, but [Winslow] came in and told me before we left the locker room that, ‘If I warn you to move, all I need to know is that you want to stay in the fight.' And I felt that I did that. I got from the bottom, up. I got kneed a few times on the way, tried to shoot another shot, and the fight was stopped. I didn't feel like I was out of the fight. ... I'm pissed to say the least. I'm definitely not happy. And, I mean, fuck, I still feel like I was in the fight. I don't, for one second, feel like it should have been stopped. But I'm a fighter. I wanted to keep fighting. [Winslow] told me, ‘Show me something.' I don't know what you want. You know, I sat up, I shot a double, I got back to my feet. I took some damage because of that, because I was trying to listen to the referee, and she fucking stopped the fight. What do you want, you know?"
Upon second viewing, and you can catch the highlights with footage of the stoppage by clicking here, it does appear as though Tate, while in trouble, is still shooting for a double leg takedown as opposed to simply giving up on the fight. That's an offensive maneuver that should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to stop a bout.
Then again, we're not referees in the cage having to make these split second decisions in real time.
Interestingly enough, UFC President Dana White actually agreed with Winslow's decision to step in when she did:
"Let me tell you what, Miesha Tate is tough as hell. She ate some nasty knees. What'd she eat, five or six, seven knees before they stopped that fight? It was time to stop that fight. You know me. If I didn't think the refs did a good job, I'd tell you. They did a good job tonight. Not 100-percent, but they did a job considering the bad situations tonight, when people were in bad situations, they did a good job to stop the fights."
Tate's anger is especially understandable when considering the stakes: an historic coaching gig on TUF 18 opposite the most popular fighting female in all of combat sports, Ronda Rousey. That also means a title shot later on this year.
Quite a bit to lose out on with what could be perceived as a quick stoppage. To add insult to injury, two judges had the bout scored 20-18 in her favor after two rounds, with the other scoring it 19-19. That means at worst, she wins a split decision if she gets to the end of that final frame.
Oh, what could have been.