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Dana White: Ref Mario Yamasaki is to blame for brutal Shevchenko vs. Cachoeira beating at UFC Belem

The UFC president took to Instagram to lambaste ref Mario Yamasaki, but there’s more than enough blame to go around.

UFC Fight Night: Shevchenko v Cachoeira Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

From the moment it was booked, the co-main event for UFC: “Belem” was a head scratcher. No. 1-ranked women’s Bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko was moving down to Flyweight and would face unranked UFC newcomer Priscila Cachoeira. At best, you could accuse UFC of throwing a prospect to the wolves. At worst, it was booking a squash match.

After the opening bell for the fight sounded, it was clear it would be a squash. Cachoeira had no answer for Shevchenko’s lightning fast counters and was stunned from the first of more than 200 largely unanswered strikes that came her way.

What unfolded over the next 9.5 minutes was a bloody and uncomfortable debacle, a one-sided beating that probably left more than a few typically unsqueamish UFC fans feeling pretty gross about what they had just witnessed.

After a seemingly endless stream of ground-and-pound from Shevchenko that never quite managed to reach the intensity needed to stop the fight, she switched to a submission and choked out her opponent. UFC President Dana White was quick to call out referee Mario Yamasaki for letting the fight go on too long.

”Priscilla Cachoeira, you showed so much heart and toughness in that fight,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’m honored to have you fight in the UFC. Unfortunately the ref is there to protect you and Mario DID NOT do that.”

”This isn’t his first disgusting performance in the octagon. Another unfortunate thing is that I can’t do anything about I️t only the Brazilian commission can and i am hoping after this scary, incompetent showing he hopefully will never set foot in that Octagon again. Strikes landed was 230-3.”

No word on whether he’d be speaking to his matchmakers who set up this lopsided fight in the first place. Priscilla was indeed tough as nails, which is the reason the referee let things go so long. Every time he’d verbally warn the fight was about to stop she’d react and lurch into a new position. She never managed to escape the barrage being unleashed by Shevchenko, but she did enough to convince the ref not to stop the fight.

Maybe Yamasaki doesn’t have any business being in the cage after what we just saw. But, Cachoeira had no business being in the cage with Shevchenko, either. That’s on UFC — and Brazilian commission CABMMA — for letting this fight happen at all.

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