In the featherweight bout between Mackens Semerzier and Robert Peralta at UFC on Fox 1: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos, it looked like Peralta dropped Semerzier with a heavy combination and pounced for a run-of-the-mill TKO stoppage.
However, when the fight-ending sequence was replayed on the broadcast in slow motion, it became evident that an inadvertent clash of heads might have caused the impact that sent Semerzier sprawling to the canvas. While the headbutt was obviously unintentional, striking with the head is considered a foul according to MMA's unified rules as well as within the state of California.
George Dodd, the Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission, walked me through the standard procedure for such an occurrence. He also confirmed that instant replay is indeed available in the state of California but must be explicitly requested by the referee.
"We do not automatically review fights unless there is an appeal to be heard," Dodd explained. "California already has the instant replay available if the referee wishes to use it. From John's angle, he did not see a head butt and did not request to use instant replay."
Dodd cited Rule 519 from California's Statutes and Regulations, which addresses the circumstance of an unintentional foul that the referee did not see.
§ 519. Suspected Fouls.
If an injury occurs due to a suspected foul that the referee was unable to see, the referee may, in his sole discretion, confer with the judges to determine where the foul may be placed. He may consider any, all or none of the opinions expressed in making his determination. The referee may, in his sole discretion, ask for a replay, if television equipment is available, of the technique in question before rendering his decision.
This means that, since the unintentional foul was understandably unseen by referee "Big" John McCarthy and he had no knowledge of it, the process described in Rule 519 was not exercised. "John did not see anything that would have led him to review the instant replay," Dodd added.
However, the methods discussed thus far are only for on-the-spot remediation. Dodd confirmed that the fight could be reviewed if Mackens Semerzier or his representatives filed an official appeal.
Update: MMAJunkie.com reports that Mackens Semerzier's manager has filed the appeal with the CSAC.
Gif via Zombie Prophet of IronForgesIron.com