Saturday night’s UFC 237 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ended with huge bang when Jessica Andrade powerbombed her way out of a finesse fight against Rose Namajunas, knocking her opponent out with a slam in the second that earned her the UFC women’s strawweight title. You can watch the finish here, and we had to dig deep to find a legally authorized clip to share because the UFC isn’t exactly making it super accessible.
Maybe that scarcity is part of an effort to push more people to buy the pay-per-view through ESPN+ ... or maybe it’s because it was an ugly knockout that saw Rose dumped directly onto her neck. Not the kind of thing you want people seeing on endless repeat while watching SportsCenter over Mother’s Day breakfast.
In addition to making us feel morally dubious for enjoying this kind of thing, the finish also had many wondering whether we’d just witnessed an illegal spike. ”Spiking the opponent to the canvas onto the head or neck (pile-driving)” is listed in the Unified rules of MMA as a foul, and wasn’t that just what happened? Not according to Marc Goddard, who was refereeing the fight.
Corey what’s up! No my friend that is not a spike. Any throw with an arc, lift can be brought down in any fashion. Rose held onto kimura grip. A spike is a 12-6 motion feet up/head down where you control your opponent. Think tombstone/pile-driver. Thank you hope you’re well. https://t.co/NzAun3vjoy— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) May 12, 2019
Legendary referee Big John McCarthy also weighed in on the incident, declaring the finish legal.
When Rose goes for the armbar she has a choice to either let go of the armbar or try and hold onto it and go for the ride that Andrade is going to put on her. There is no illegal slam when a submission is being attempted. It does not matter how she brings her down #AskBJM https://t.co/eBgvzcdZBY— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) May 12, 2019
And while we’re a bit unsure of Goddard’s 12 to 6 requirement, the Association of Boxing Commission fouls document clearly states a fighter must be ‘in control of their opponent’s body’ for a slam to be considered a spike. Here’s their clarification to the spiking rule:
A pile driver is considered to be any throw where you control your opponent’s body placing his feet towards the sky with his head straight down and then forcibly drive your opponents head into the canvas or flooring material. It should be noted when a fighter is placed into a submission hold by their opponent, if that fighter is capable of elevating their opponent they may bring that opponent down in any fashion they desire because they are not in control of their opponent’s body. The fighter who is attempting the submission can either adjust their position, or let go of their hold before being slammed to the canvas.
So basically anything other than a straight up Tombstone? Probably legal. What do you think, Maniacs?