Antonio Silva says stoppage was due to illegal strikes, calls for ref suspensions

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Antonio Silva had some things to get off his chest about his TKO loss to Cain Velasquez.

Antonio Silva was not happy tonight, but not for the reasons you'd think. Yes he lost and in brutal fashion, and while some may say the stoppage was premature, that's not the tack he's taking. When asked about the stoppage at the post fight presser, Antonio Silva went on the record to say he felt the strikes that ended the fight were illegal, and referees should start bearing the blame for poor showings.

When asked if Bigfoot had anything to say about the stoppage, Dana White quickly chimed in:

"Yes he does, I've been hearing about it."

Bigfoot then went on to say, exactly what he felt about the referees performance, and where he felt the fight went wrong.

"I do agree that the fight was stopped to early. My way of thinking that the way athletes are penalized when they do something wrong should be applied to referees when they do something wrong."

"I don't want to say too much, I just want you to watch the fight. I took several illegal blows to the back of my neck. The way the referee explained it, the first low blow should be a warning, the second should be penalized. If you watch I took several illegal blows to the back of my neck."

Dana white added insult to injury piling on with suggestions that Yamasaki, given his small frame should never have been given the fight.

"The smallest referee on the planet refereeing the two biggest fighters on the planet. Any time it's a big fight, everything on the line, I like to see guys like Herb Dean in there."

"When you've got a guy this tall (White holds his hand out about shoulder height) refereeing two big fighters, it just makes no common sense at all."

I don't know that I saw anything terribly heinous in the end of the fight, it was a tad early maybe, but that's not what Silva is arguing here. If Gabriel Gonzaga couldn't get his fight against Travis Browne overturned, I can't see Bigfoot's argument gaining much ground. As for Dana calling out Yamasaki over his size, it's a really weird deflection. Essentially he's not saying that Yamasaki actually did anything wrong, or that the fight was actually stopped poorly, but merely that Yamasaki is too small to be an effective ref for heavyweight fights.

I can't think of anything that actually reinforces this position in UFC history, and picking refs based on bigness rather than skill seems like it would have very little long term potential as a promotional management strategy. I have to assume for the moment that White was just looking to deflect the topic and agree with his fighter's stance, without actually agreeing or suggesting he deserved a rematch. At least I certainly hope so, because if not it's just absurd.

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