It was a wonky weekend of fights across multiple promotions as UFC Vegas 51 saw two fights go to technical decision, a typically rare event when an “unintentional” fight-ending foul past the mid-point of a fight sends the bout directly to scorecards.
The first instance was during the “Prelims” undercard where Martin Buday hit Chris Barnett with a downward elbow to the neck 1.5 minutes into the third round. The doctors ruled that Barnett was unable to continue, but rather than call the fight as a “No Contest” or “Disqualification,” the referee declared the strike unintentional and sent the bout to the judges, who awarded the fight to Buday 30–27x3.
Later on in the third round of the co-main event, Caio Borralho kneed Gadzhi Omargadzhiev in the head while Omargadzhiev’s hand was still touching the ground, making the strike illegal. While the doctor said Omargadzhiev could “continue if he wanted,” the fight was waved off. Once again, the referee decided the blow was unintentional, resulting in the judges rendering a 29–27x3 win for Borralho.
Commentator Daniel Cormier was visibly annoyed with the situation while interviewing Borralho in the cage. Once he stalked out of the cage back to his seat, he laid out his thoughts on the situation via Twitter.
No knock on Caio or Martin but every single time I threw a strike in the octagon it was intentional. They both should have been disqualified! #ufconespn— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2022
“No knock on Caio or Martin but every single time I threw a strike in the octagon it was intentional,” Cormier wrote. “They both should have been disqualified!”
So win 2 rounds, throw unintentional illegal strike and then hope they guy can’t continue. So that y’all go to judges right then. Shit you don’t run the risk of losing— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2022
“So win 2 rounds, throw unintentional illegal strike and then hope they guy can’t continue,” he added. “So that y’all go to judges right then. S—t you don’t run the risk of losing.”
I like the kid but that can’t happen https://t.co/TBzg1Fnd2v— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2022
For those who are curious, here’s the text from the Unified Rules of MMA on technical decisions:
If an accidental foul causes an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the bout after ½ of the scheduled rounds, plus one (1) second of the fight has been completed, the bout will result in a TECHNICAL DECISION awarded to the fighter who is ahead on the score cards at the time the bout is stopped.
The big issue with this rule is that referees seem to consider everything but the most blatant of fouls “accidental” (and even those too, many times). Cormier wasn’t the only person with extensive fighting experience to find the whole situation ridiculous.
Here’s some of the other reactions from fighters:
Clearly intentional ♂️— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) April 16, 2022
Clearly intentional!— Junior Dos Santos ️➕ (@junior_cigano) April 17, 2022
I don’t know what kind shit is going in on those guys heads. and the referee saying it was an accident. BS.
Elbow on the back of the head is never, never an accident. Why it’s so hard for those *** apply the f rules https://t.co/DsS1kYrE91
I like Borralho, but how do you get a win here? I’m super confused… sucks that the ref you have for the night pretty much dictates how a foul is interpreted. No consistency. Should be a NC at best. #UFCVegas51— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) April 17, 2022
This whole no contest nonsense is confusing. So you can illegally strike someone and still win now bc it’s the 3rd round— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) April 17, 2022
What do you think, Maniacs? Sound off in the comments!
For complete UFC Vegas 51 results and coverage click here.