There was a lot of finger pointing in the wake of the UFC Jacksonville main event last week after light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith was beaten to a pulp by Glover Teixeira — to the point where “Lionheart” was handing his broken teeth to referee Jason Herzog midway through the fight.
See the video here.
The general consensus among mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, as well as some fighters, is that Smith (33-15) needed to be saved from himself, either through his corner (throwing in the towel) or by the man in black, who didn’t call the fight until the fifth and final round.
Herzog recently issued a public statement assuming all blame (read it).
“Coward move on his part, in my opinion,” Smith, 31, wrote on Twitter. “I make it a point before fights to know the commands, and what he expects out of each one before every fight. I did everything he asked and responded correctly per the pre fight meeting. Don’t wilt under a little heat afterwards because Twitter is mean. The world is soft. Man up.”
Most referees are in a no-win situation.
The same people screaming that Smith took an inordinate amount of punishment are the same people who would flay Herzog for stopping the fight in the third or fourth round. “Lionheart” was in survival mode, but still attempting to work his way to safety.
Watch the video highlights here.
This is also a good time to mention that fighters like Smith often depend on their win bonus to maintain their livelihood (sample here), so if a referee is going to be the one to take that away, it better be for the right reason.