Although the outstanding main event Light Heavyweight showcase at last night's (Sat., Sept. 21, 2013) UFC 165: "Jones vs. Gustafsson" pay-per-view (PPV) at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, may have been somewhat inconclusive, the same cannot be said for the co-main event.
Or at least it didn't appear that way at first.
Indeed, Interim Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao used a spinning back kick and some heavy follow up punches to score a technical knockout victory over Eddie Wineland. At a glance, the stoppage seemed fair (watch full fight video highlights here).
Upon closer inspection, perhaps Wineland has a reason to be upset, as he emphatically proclaimed at the post-fight press conference last night when asked his feelings on the referee's decision to halt the bout:
"Um, personal opinion, I think (bullshit). He caught me with a great kick. I was by no means out, I was on my way back up. But, you know the ref's are at their own discretion and that's what he thought was the right call my hat's off to him. It was a good kick."
Although he may have a legitimate claim, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White would later say this is one of those instances where it's hard on the referee to make a decision that everyone can get behind. After all, it's better to err on the side of caution, even if that means Wineland isn't happy about the outcome.
Still, it's worth wondering how different the 135-pound division might look today had the referee not decided to call and end to the proceedings when he did. Maybe it wouldn't look different at all.
But, maybe it would. And that's worth getting upset about with so much at stake.