UFC 169 -- the annual Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Super Bowl-weekend event -- closed with Renan Barao successfully defending his Bantamweight strap for the second time against Urijah Faber (watch highlights here.)
The bout lasted all of four minutes, featuring the Nova Uniao-trained product rocking Faber's chin with punches twice before receiving the blessing of a stoppage by referee Herb Dean.
That's where things get a little sketchy, according to "The California Kid's" trainer at Team Alpha Male, Duane "Bang" Ludwig. In an interview with Sherdog.com, the former UFC Welterweight explained the reason he felt the fight was stopped prematurely by Dean, as well as why Faber shouldn't have to claw his way back up through the promotion's 135-pound ranks.
He starts in:
"I thought the stoppage was a little bit premature, Urijah was in trouble before that, but he was intelligently defending himself obviously with the thumb’s up. But, we all make mistakes; it happens. I just think it was a mistake by Herb."
Ludwig does have a point -- replays clearly showed that Faber was holding up a thumb while eating the hammerfists from Barao; however, in Dean's defense, Faber had already suffered a good amount of damage and his thumb wasn't necessarily in plain view (see for yourself here.)
"There wasn’t much more he could have done. One arm was trapped. The arm that was trapped, he was giving the freakin’ thumb’s up, but maybe Herb didn’t see that. Obviously he didn’t see that, and with the other arm he was defending himself. I think obviously [Dean] made a bad call and I think he’ll tell you that himself after looking at it."
Regardless of how the fight ended, "Bang" feels as if this situation can easily be rectified by giving the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion a third shot at dethroning "The Baron" ... as soon as possible.
"He didn’t really lose this time, though, it was a bad stoppage. If he went out there and got dominated and got his ass beat or got submitted or got stopped, like knocked out cold or the referee didn’t pull him away when he should have stopped the fight, then you’d have a valid point, but right now you don’t have a valid point because he lost to him the first [time] in a very close fight, a decision. This time it was a premature stoppage -- everybody agrees. Because of this point in particular, the way it was stopped, there should be a third fight."
While Faber was quick to suggest to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva in his post-fight interview that his teammate, T.J. Dillashaw, should get the next crack at Barao, "Bang" admits that while he's not the person to make these decisions, Faber vs. Barao 3 should occur later this summer.
"I don’t think Urijah even needs to have another fight to go back to Barao. I think they should redo it, but of course I’m not the promoter. I’m not the one dealing with the P.R. relations and such, so I think what they would like to do is have Urijah do one more fight, maybe do one more fight, maybe in the summer or so, or maybe in the spring or something, do another fight, get a win and then fight Barao again in the summer."
Mixed martial arts (MMA) fan's opinions will surely differ here, but if not Faber, who else?