This past weekend's UFC Fight Night 85 event in Brisbane, Australia, was an overall success
Mark Hunt finished Frank Mir via first-round knockout (replay), Jake Matthews realized his potential with a submission win over a game Johnny Case (see it) and hometown hero Dan Kelly stunned Antonio Carlos Junior with a come-from-behind technical knockout (video). All in all, five out of the six Australians fighting on the main card captured victory in front of a wily crowd at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
But through the walkaway knockouts, comeback victories and hometown successes, the night may have been tainted by a late stoppage in the Neil Magny vs. Hector Lombard fight. After rebounding from a vicious first-round onslaught by Lombard, Magny proceeded to batter the Cuban into the canvas for what seemed an eternity to end the second (watch it here). Referee Steve Perceval refused to stop the fight, although he finally called it early into the third, and has since caught a lot of flack for his mistake, especially from the Twitter world.
Even more importantly, the late stoppage has sparked conversation among Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) executives, specifically UFC Managing Director Tom Wright during the post-fight press conference (video).
"We were a lot concerned," said Wright when asked if the fight should have been stopped in the second round. "I think [Magny] said it best. It's the referee's job, is to make sure that a fight is stopped, that the athlete can protect himself or herself. I'm sitting not quite as close as the referee was, but I thought that fight should've been stopped and it should've been stopped a long time before."
In all likelihood, Perceval allowed the fight to go on a little longer than he usually would because Lombard had never been finished in 41 professional bouts. But at the end of the day, stopping a fight should be a routine measure taken despite any history of battling through adversity a fighter may possess.
Because when that line is not drawn, the results can be crippling for someone incapable of defending themselves from countless blows to the head. Late stoppages, early stoppages and downright poor refereeing will continue to be a problem in mixed martial arts until promotions and commissions work together to fix the glaring issue.
For much more fallout from UFC Fight Night 85 click here.