The controversial conclusion of the Resurrection Fighting Alliance fight card last Friday night continues to make headlines, as this time the Wyoming MMA Board Treasurer Bryan Pedersen provided a detailed response to the incident that occurred in the main event.
Junior Maranhao, who was contesting a flyweight title fight against Matt Manzaneres, appeared to collapse off his stool ahead of the final round of the title fight, but was lifted by his corner men and allowed to continue fighting. Referee Tom Johnson did not interfere and neither did the ringside physician, both of whom are paid to ensure fighter safety.
The night would conclude in a split decision win for Manzaneres.
Bryan Pedersen, who co-sponsored Wyoming House Bill 87, which established the Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts on March 8, 2012, explained his perspective on the incident that took place between the fourth and fifth round to KGWN TV's Graham Hunter.
"Manzanares is the local fighter and had his opponent in a triangle choke, and that's a choke with legs around his head but it doesn't appear as if he has it very tight but he's [Maranhão] still there for 40 seconds," Pedersen said.
"Bell goes off. Fighter stands up, pops up quickly, runs over to his corner, they throw down a stool for him. And then his two coaches in his corner go to talk to the ref and as they're sitting there, he [Maranhão] falls out of his chair and tips over to the left side of his body."
Pedersen's reasoning for his officials missing Maranhão's collapse was that they were "out of sight."
"When we reviewed the tapes one of the things that was out of place was that our inspector and our doctor were out of sight of where that was," Pedersen said. "Their sightline was the corner and the ref who were discussing what was happening in the prior round."
The ringside physician apparently entered the ring to check on Maranhão, but that was after he had seemingly recovred.
"The doc comes up," Pedersen said. "By this time he's [Maranhão] already back in his stool, the fighter is already talking to his corner in Portuguese saying, 'I'm fine, let's fight'... he goes back with the knowledge that he has and says 'he's talking to his corner, his corner's talking, says he got dizzy and tipped over in his stool.'"
Pedersen would reiterate that his officials were "out of sightline" and failed to see the fighter collapse from his stool in between rounds.
"Near as we can tell he was out of sightline," Pedersen said. "It looked as if to him he didn't see the fighter fall off the stool, he only saw him climbing back onto the stool and so he gets there they [Maranhão's corner team] said, 'he fell off the stool, he's dizzy.' "He [physician] didn't see it, out of his line of sight. So therefore, our goal is to hopefully better the process by splitting our inspectors and physician's up."
To further protect his officials, Pedersen admit that there will be no fines or repercussions handed out, as he does not believe there was any "negligent or malicious" in how it was handled.
"If we thought there was something done that was negligent or malicious obviously we would penalize that," Pedersen said. "We're always looking for new ways to train and we're working with the association of boxing commissions to look at better ways of training our physicians and better ways to take care of fighter safety. There's always an opportunity to improve and we look forward to that."
"There are no current penalties, fines, or repercussions coming to those officials at this time," Pedersen added.
Interview and transcription taken from KGWN TV's Graham Hunter.