Travis Browne made an emphatic return to the mixed martial arts (MMA) win column last night (April 13, 2013) at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 Finale, which took place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, nevada, plugging Gabriel Gonzaga's ear with brain-jarring elbows that would appear to have the super-human power to crack coconuts.
Indeed, it was unlike anything ever seen inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon, which of course stirs the debate of whether or not the strikes were legal in the first place. Under the Unified Rules of MMA, strikes to the spine or back of the head are considered "fouls" and "may result in penalties, at the discretion of thereferee, if committed."
Browne was not penalized after "Napao" went limp; in fact, he was handed and extra $50,000 bonus for registering the "Knockout of the Night."
"Me and Joe Silva looked at a replay of it on the Internet," UFC President Dana White explained during his post-event media scrum (watch it here). "[Gonzaga] was out with the ones to the side and then he hit him with a couple more to the back of the head after he was already out. That's the way that I saw it."
That's seemingly the way in which the referee saw it, too, considering the official outcome of the Heavyweight match. Browne did appear to land "legal" elbows to the left side of Gonzaga's face while he stubbornly attempted a takedown along the cage, but as he began to wilt, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout slithered toward the mat, which is when Browne planted the illegal blow to the back of the head.
An illegal blow that, apparently, isn't really illegal if a man is already unconscious.
"You know me, if I didn't think the referees did a good job I would tell you," White continued. "They did a good job tonight, considering the bad situations tonight when people were in bad situations, they did a good job tonight of stopping the fights."