Josh Burkman shocked the mixed martial arts (MMA) world last Friday night (June 14, 2013) when he defeated Jon Fitch in the main event of World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 3, which took place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"The People's Warrior" needed less than a minute to secure the submission win by way of guillotine choke (watch replay here).
Following the event, UFC President Dana White slammed the performance of referee Steve Mazzagatti (read it here). The longtime man in black did not stop the fight, nor did he need to, as Burkman simply stood up and left his lifeless foe asleep on the canvas.
Fortunately for Fitch, his conqueror knew when to say when.
But it the wake of Fitchgate, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director (NSAC) Keith Kizer was quick to downplay White's critique, insisting the "weird" ending of the fight was not based on a judgment call by the official, but rather a series of circumstances that allowed the contest to conclude on its own.
His comments to MMA Fighting:
"It as neither a positive or a negative on the referee. All of us in the arena, and the commentators who know their stuff, were really shocked Jon (Fitch) was out. Steve was right there. He had to walk two steps. He walked two steps and waved off the fight. It was very easy for him, and every easy for Josh as well. It was a weird ending to the fight, but good for Josh. The guy went out and Josh immediately released the hold. What's weird is he flipped Fitch over, away from the ref. When Josh had the hold, he (Mazzagatti) was one step away. He had a perfect view. Josh flipped him away from the ref, then stood up. I would praise the referee if he did a good job. But here, there's nothing to talk about the ref. It wasn't a good job or a bad job. He had no job. I think most people thought Jon was going to get out. Bas (Rutten) and I both thought he was letting go of the hold and transitioning to another hold. The story should be about Josh getting an amazing win, doing the right thing, and releasing the hold. This isn't about the ref. Dana's a good guy. Very few people care about other people as much as Dana. But you've heard what he's said about former fighters, former employees, even fighters in his organization. Even Jon Jones. He likes to put people down, whether rightly or wrongly. It's an ego thing. We all have egos. I think it's wrong when people lie and you can make your own conclusions on Dana."
This wasn't the first time White blasted The Mazz.
He wanted to "blow his brains out" earlier this year when it was learned that Steve-O was in charge of the UFC 156 main event between Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar, a happenstance White said he could "spend 45 minutes" complaining about (his rant here).
As Mazzagatti said, he doesn't work for ZUFFA and it's not his job to make sure the fights end the way a promoter wants them to (comments here). Unfortunately, since White has been so vocal about the shortcomings of his nemesis, it has led to his fighters hopping on the bandwagon when they come up short in a big spot (example).
Two sides to every story fight fans ... which one are you taking?