EFC president blames internet 'sensationalism' for stoppage controversy

In the wake of a terrible stoppage in the promotion's most recent event, EFC president Cairo Howarth released a statement dismissing the allegations of irresponsible officiating.

Last week, Bloody Elbow reported on a controversial stoppage that occurred at that latest Extreme Fighting Championship: Africa event. On March 27 at EFC 28, Christophe Walravens took on Bernardo Mikixi in a heavyweight tilt. In the second round of their fight, Walravens delivered several unanswered bows before the referee stopped the action.

You can see the end of the fight here thanks to GrabakaHitman:

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As you can see, Mikixi took repeated blows to the back of the head that went without warning. Referee Wiekus Swart didn't stop the fight until several seconds after Walravens had ceased his onslaught and Mikixi laid on his back showing no signs of offensive or defensive action.

Despite the pitiful display of refereeing, EFC president Cairo Howarth saw nothing wrong with the stop:

"The Walravens vs. Mikixi fight was awesome. Sitting Hexagon side, I had no feeling that the stoppage was handled improperly. It was heat of the moment, Walravens delivering standing hammer fist ground and pound, with Mikixi working for position to defend. Walravens was warned by referee Wiekus Swart to be careful of hitting the back of the head, who was monitoring the fight closely, and I felt he was reading the situation well. Bernardo rolled onto his back, a standard defensive position, and then verbally submitted, at which point Wiekus stopped the fight. In terms of the rules of MMA, I don't see anything wrong with the stoppage. In fact, the first inkling anyone in the arena had that there may be something wrong was after sensationalism hit the internet - which says a lot about how difficult it is to judge reality on a single camera angle. Bernardo was examined immediately after and had no head injuries to speak of, and at the time was not personally concerned with the blows. We've re-watched the fight, and fans need to remember that ‘back of the head' is a specific area. It's a narrow strip, running down the centre of the back of the head. It's not the whole area, from ear to ear. Walravens was angling his shots from the side, making every effort to avoid the danger zone, on a moving target."

Aside from showing clear ignorance regarding illegal strikes to the back of the head, Howarth is completely dismissive of well-earned criticism just weeks after a fighter died in the aftermath of EFC's previous event just a month prior. Middleweight Booto Guylain passed away just days after his second professional fight at EFC 27 on February 27 due to swelling and bleeding in his brain. One would think Cairo would be more concerned with fighter safety following such am unfortunate incident.

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