UFC Fight Night 102 went down last Friday night (Dec. 9, 2016) inside Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., seemingly without a hitch, as Derrick Lewis knocked out Shamil Abdurakhimov in the main event (watch highlights), while Francis Ngannou submitted Anthony Hamilton in the second round (full results here) in the co-featured fight of the night.
Backstage, however, not everything went as smooth for certain combatants.
According to a report from MMA Fighting, multiple fighters and their teams complained about New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) and its handling of medical treatment after their respective fights. In fact, Ricardo Feliciano, who is among Ashley Yoder’s coaches, claims she was not allowed to receive stitches in the arena per NYSAC policy and was instead sent to a local hospital — which he described as "terrible" — in an ambulance and eventually received treatment three hours later.
It is common practice for fighters to get stitched up immediately after a bout backstage if needed, something that the NYSAC isn’t opposed to as long as it’s agreed upon prior to the fight, according to Las Benitez, a spokesperson for the commission.
"The New York State Athletic Commission physicians provide care for emergency, and potentially, life-threatening conditions," Benitez said in a statement to MMA Fighting. "This does not typically include suturing. Combatants may receive suturing care at the venue from a New York State-licensed medical professional should the promoter enter into an agreement for the provision of suturing care or otherwise seek treatment at a medical facility."
Ryan Janes, meanwhile, spent four hours at the hospital following his fight before he was allowed to head back to the hotel.
According to the report, at UFC 205 -- which went down on Nov. 12, 2016, in New York City — fighters did receive their stitches immediately inside Madison Square Garden. But, according to the commission, the doctors were privately attained by UFC.
Local boy Gian Villante didn’t have a great experience post UFC Fight Night 102, either. After he was sent by the commission doctor to the hospital for an EKG because he had non-stop hiccups throughout the week, he was eventually released an hour later even though the results were "abnormal." Hours later, however, UFC ordered him to go back to the hospital to undergo additional tests. The phone call came at 3 a.m. ET while he was out celebrating his technical knockout win over Saparbek Safarov.
Needless to say, Villante — who was told he’d be suspended if he didn’t report back to the hospital — wasn’t too pleased. "The New York athletic commission sucks," Villante said. "It was a fucking nightmare."
The complaints are just the latest bad experiences that fighters have suffered since mixed martial arts (MMA) became legal in "The Empire State" earlier this year. At UFC 205, Kelvin Gastelum was suspended six months for failing to weigh in for his scheduled bout against Donald Cerrone, an administrative punishment that was ultimately rescinded so he could compete at UFC 206 last week.
Furthermore, NYSAC suspended Thiago Alves for three months after he missed weight for his bout against Jim Miller. In addition, Yoel Romero was also suspended for 60 days for jumping over the cage to celebrate his knockout win over Chris Weidman.
NYSAC, clearly, is a stickler for its strict rules.
On the heels of these latest instances, one has to wonder if fighters will still be chomping at the bit to get a spot on a New York-based event as they were prior to UFC 205.
Max Holloway and Jose Aldo: Consider yourselves warned.