The Pennsylvania Athletic Commission has overturned Charles Oliveira's victory over Nik Lentz at UFC on Versus 4 and declared the fight a no contest. Oliveira landed a flagrantly illegal knee to Lentz' face while Lentz had one knee on the ground. Referee Chip Snider let the action continue despite the illegal blow and Oliveira quickly submitted the stunnded Lentz.
The UFC declared the bout the Fight of the Night and awarded each fighter a $50,000 bonus.
MMA Weekly got the statement from Greg Sirb, executive director of the PSAC:
"After review of the tape of this contest and after consultation with the referee the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has ruled that the results of this match will be changed to a no contest.
"This change is a direct result from an accidental kick to the head by Mr. Oliveira to a grounded Mr. Lentz."
Lentz' coach Greg Nelson won't be surprised. He spoke to MMA Fighting about the fight:
"It's the illegal knee that basically knocked Nik Lentz out so he could get his back and hook him," Nelson told MMA Fighting on Monday evening. "I mean, he was clearly down. That knee broke Nik Lentz's eye socket, so it was not a soft knee. He took his time, held the back of the head, wound up the knee and then let it go. ...It was a super hard knee that ended up doing a lot of damage.
"All the other referees were jumping up, guys from the commission were jumping up, I was jumping up. A lot of people were wondering what was going on, why the fight wasn't being stopped, because it was so blatant. Then the crowd, when they saw the replay, it was doubly obvious to them."
Oliveira on the other hand, told Sherdog that he expected his win to stand:
"He wasn't knocked out by the knee," Oliveira told Sherdog.com. "He got hit, but kept fighting, grabbed my legs, and only after the second knee landed did he let me climb on his back to submit him. The move was in the heat of the fight. I didn't intend to use it to my advantage. I was winning the second round the same way I won the first. I'm confident the commission won't declare it a no-contest. It was a mistake on the referee's part. The result is in their hands, but, for now, I'm the winner, and I'm okay with that.
"Joe Silva said I was brilliant," Oliveira revealed. "He said for the UFC, I was the winner, but the Pennsylvania commission opted to review the tape. I'm frustrated, because that moment took the luster off my performance and turned the attention to something else."
Oliveira had been winning the fight before the illegal knee, but it was a good performance from both fighters with Lentz acquitting himself well.
UPDATE: Oliveira plans to appeal the ruling via Portal do Vale Tudo who spoke to his trainer Ericson Cardozo (translated by Tom Mendes):
"Yes, we're going to appeal it, because it was an error made by the referee, that should have stopped the fight, given time for Lentz to recuperate, and taken a point away from Charles. Charles cannot pay for an error made by the referee that they themselves appointed. Our manager has already got in contact with the UFC and the Pennsylvania Commission to try to reverse this decision. We're awaiting a new position on the matter.
"Charles made a mistake, but it was in the heat of the fight, and when a fighter makes a mistake, he has to be punished by the rules. Now he's very saddened by this, it's unfortunate. He trained a lot in Brazil and the US, he misses his family, he'll only reunite with them next Friday... But we're giving him support, because, as I have told him, Charles did his job, he gave a show, he went after (him), he did what he trained for".