There's no doubt the the UFC 167 headliner between Johny Hendricks and Georges St-Pierre ended in a controversial decision. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is taking a lot of heat for the scores that their judges came up with, and referee Mario Yamasaki has been taking some as well for what some perceived as a controversial call in the second round of the fight. MMA Fighting caught up with Yamasaki to get his impression of the fight, and some comments on the second round situation. First, he thought Hendricks clearly won:
"I'm inside the cage so I can't see the fight as the judge sees it, but I thought Hendricks won the fight," Yamasaki told MMAFighting.com. "I thought Hendricks dominated the fight, it was brutal, and I was surprised when they gave St-Pierre the win. But I'm not the judge. I look at the fight with different eyes."
Yamasaki scored the fifth round in favor of St-Pierre, and that was it.
"The first round was slow and could have gone either way. Hendricks dominated the second one. The third was close and could also go either way, and the judges gave it to St-Pierre. When the fight was over, I thought Hendricks won every round except the last one," he said. "But I have to watch the fight again to analyze it as a judge."
He also stated that every referee that works in Nevada has to take a judging course, so he knows what they're looking for. And that Dana White hasn't, so he reacts as a fan. The second round of the fight saw Yamasaki stop the action when it appears GSP was hurt, and some think he caught a break and was able to recover because of that. But Yamasaki said he went by the book and that he had to call time for Hendricks to recover his mouthpiece:
"The rules says that when the mouthpiece falls and the action continues, I can't stop the fight," he said. "Hendricks kept pressuring, but then they started working in the clinch, so I stopped it. I wouldn't have stopped the fight if he kept punching. I'm there to protect the athlete. There's no reason why I would let him hurt his mouth."
Personally, I didn't see any particular issue with his actions and thought he did a good job in the fight overall.