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Shots After The Bell: Questionable calls, cutmen, and commentary at UFC 211

It wouldn’t be a big UFC event without several controversial moments, and we’re going to explore all of them.

UFC 211: Miocic v Dos Santos 2 Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

UFC 211 just wrapped up from Dallas, Texas, and like most major UFC cards these days, this event came with it’s fair share of controversy. Let’s dive into it all, shall we?

All's Well With An Enswell?

When Yair Rodriguez went back to his corner after the first round against Frankie Edgar, he had a cut and an egg under his eye. The UFC's cutman took a look at the two and ended up paying attention to the cut, not even putting an enswell on the massive mess of a bruise that extended from Yair's eye to mouth.

That mess only continued to grow in the second round as swelling and Frankie Edgar's relentless ground and pound ensued, causing the ringside physicians to stop the fight after the second.

No one complained too much about the stoppage. It wasn't looking like Yair was going to be capable of mounting a comeback ... he had no answer to Edgar's takedowns and seemed completely unable to get back to his feet once on the canvas. But I do wonder whether the cutman's decision (or mistake) in not using the enswell cost Rodriguez the chance to fight out the third round and determine his own fate.

It feels like one of those times when the judges get the scoring completely wrong, but still award the fight to the right guy. No one's going to be talking about how Rodriguez got screwed. But when an untreated egg goes on to grow to the point where the fight is stopped over it, perhaps we should be talking a little more about the cutmen the UFC employs, because it's not always going to be a situation where it doesn't end up changing the outcome of a fight.

An Un-unified Mess

UFC 211: Miocic v Dos Santos 2 Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Let's move on to knees to the head of a grounded opponent, which has (for a second PPV event in a row) ruined what was looking like the most exciting fight of the night. Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier were going at it like warrior poets when Alvarez caught Poirier up against the fence and unleashed a series of fateful knees to a grounded Poirier's head. What followed was a comedy and a tragedy as the ref and commentary team struggled to figure out which knees were legal under which ruleset and how to apply that knowledge.

In the end, referee Herb Dean made an interesting determination: despite the fact that three of the knees were illegal, Dean declared them unintentional which resulted in a No Contest for the fight rather than a DQ win for Poirier. If knees to a grounded opponent rules seemed arbitrary before, wrap your head around that decision, folks. That means there's no objective standard for how these kinds of fouls will be handled because in the end it's completely up to the referee's discretion.

Of course, it's almost always up to the referee's discretion ... that's why the sport suffers through so many eye pokes and groin shots and fence grabs without any penalty applied. And now it looks like the same will extend out to knees thrown to the head of a downed opponent, even when they result in a stoppage that ends the fight.

"We're the guys that are driving the bus, we're the guys that gotta figure this out," Dana White said afterwards at the post fight press conference. "None of the other promotions out there are going to do it. We've been the ones that have led the charge on everything that's happened in this sport and we're going to continue to do that. I don't want to limit myself to where we're going to go, but we've just gotta figure this stuff out."

"You gotta remember this sport is 17 years old so there's a lot of things that need to be fixed and things that need to be worked on ... this sport is still a work in progress."

Bad Timing

UFC 211: Miocic v Dos Santos 2 Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Without a marquee superstar name to anchor their big International Fight Week card at UFC 213, the UFC may be planning on repeating what they did with UFC 200 and stacking the card with belts. They've already got Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko for the women's bantamweight title, and Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw for the men's bantamweight title (if Garbrandt's back treatment is wildly successful), but if they expected Demian Maia to roll right from his fight with Jorge Masvidal into a title fight against Tyron Woodley on July 13th, they may be disappointed.

“Now I wanna rest a little bit, I have a lot of things ahead," Maia said at the post fight press conference. "I have to go to Las Vegas next week for the fighter retreat with UFC, then all my affiliates are gonna fly to LA, I gonna give like five days of courses that I give every year for my affiliates in the United States, the jiu jitsu academies. And then after that I have a seminar in Brazil, then after that something with my family, then another seminar. So a little time to recover my mind."

That doesn't sound like someone who's ready to sign on the dotted line for a title shot in just under two months. And honestly, it's pretty close to force a square peg through a round hole for the UFC to try and make it happen. Eight weeks isn't a lot of time for Maia to recover from a fight and then turn around to prepare for a challenge like Tyron Woodley. But the UFC has a tentpole event to build, so we have to wonder whether Maia's reluctance to accept something that would clearly be to his detriment will result in him being overlooked once again as next for Woodley.

The American Top Team Scorecard

MMA: UFC 211-Jedrzejczyk vs Andrade Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 211 was dubbed by some as 'ATT vs. The World' with the camp putting forward 8 fighters. So how did they do? The results are as follows: Junior dos Santos (loss), Joanna Jedrzejczyk (win), Jorge Masvidal (loss), Dustin Poirier (NC), Krzysztof Jotko (loss), Jessica Aguilar (loss), Enrique Barzola (win), and Gadzhimurad Antigulov (win) for a 3-4-1 record over the night. Not the best, but it certainly doesn't look like Joanna Jedrzejczyk is gonna be dropping her 115 pound belt anytime soon ... unless she does it willingly to move up to 125.


UFC 200 - Weigh-in Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Did anyone else notice that the audio feed for the night was a bit off? There were several times where both corners were audible between rounds while the commentary team talked over them. Replays featured harsh cuts of crowd noise, and sometimes the whole thing devolved into a muddled mess of competing sounds. It wasn't a tip top night for whoever was running the soundboard in the production truck.

Past that, the UFC continues to rotate through combinations in the commentary booth, this time featuring Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier. I don't know if Anik was told to sit back and let Rogan and Cormier carry the show, but he rarely got involved and often got talked over as the night went on. Meanwhile, the interplay between Daniel and Joe regularly devolved from commentary into conversation. It was another night that just didn't sound right, and at this point I have to admit I'm missing Goldberg.

Bill Goldberg's style of announcing may have been easy to mock, but at this point it feels like a mistake that WME-IMG canned him and took his energy out of the broadcast. They took a good thing that worked well and ditched it for no real reason other than personal preference. Now we're stuck walking the desert looking for another team-up that works, and I just wish we'd never changed in the first place.

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