Whether you're a fan of Chris Weidman or Luke Rockhold, it's easy to agree that the dying seconds of their UFC 194 title fight on Saturday (Dec. 12, 2015) from inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, was difficult to watch.
Rockhold had taken full mount on the previously undefeated champion, wailing down punches and elbows that left Weidman's face a broken mess after the fight. And yet referee Herb Dean allowed it to continue, causing something of a controversy and difference of opinion among fans.
Weidman's coach, Ray Longo, spoke to the Anik and Florian podcast today (Dec. 14, 2015) to talk about his view of the non-call. And even though Longo said he didn't like what he was seeing and he never wants to see it again, he added he would never take the choice away from one of his fighters.
"Nobody's going to argue if Herb Dean would've stopped that fight. But, you know these guys give me pretty strict orders never to ever do that. So I know that with Matt [Serra] it was always... I think I made the mistake of asking him once one fight and he almost blew a gasket off his seat."
It was a dramatic turn of events in the third round of the co-main event when Weidman went for a spinning kick and gave up his back to Rockhold. Up until that point it appeared the then-Middleweight champion was winning the fight and seemed to have the better cardio of the two fighters.
Longo said he hasn't discussed the mistake with Weidman yet, as the fighter immediately went to see a doctor after the fight.
"The only thing I could say to him is, 'I'm sorry.' Because as a coach I feel like any loss is ... I'm just going to feel bad because you know the time these guys put in and I know the sacrifices that they made."
Longo did say that Weidman looked lethargic and unlike his previous performances inside the Octagon.
"I didn't think Chris looked like himself. I know he didn't and I haven't really talked to him yet, but I'll talk to him and we'll figure some stuff out."
As for Weidman, the Baldwin, N.Y., native took to social media today to tell fans he will rebound and grow from the devastating loss, hinting he won't be gone from the spotlight for long.
"I will remember this moment forever. It has already changed me for the better. The motivation I have inside myself has never been stronger. I did not feel like myself in there for many reasons, but it was a loss that I needed and deserved. I have been playing back different moments in the fight where I didn't do or react the way I should have, but this was all part of a true master plan that God has in store for me. I will be back and I will be champion again. I just wanna let everyone know that I am ok. I am so blessed with an amazing family, friends, team and fans. Thank you all so much for the support. It means more now than ever."
The loss was Weidman's first of his mixed martial arts career, falling to 13-1 in fights spanning back to his 2009 debut in the sport.