It all happened in the second round of their co-main event fight, when Mousasi threw two knee strikes to Weidman’s head, as the former middleweight champion had both his hands down. Referee Dan Miragliotta called for time soon after, deeming Mousasi’s strikes illegal.
Miragliotta did reverse his initial call and deemed the strikes legal after reviewing the situation further. Ringside doctors, however, put the fight to a stop and gave Mousasi the TKO victory after declaring Weidman unfit to continue.
The call was questionable for many observers, and rightfully, for Weidman’s team as well. For trainer Ray Longo, Weidman, for one, should have been allowed to continue.
“Whether the knee was legal or illegal is really irrelevant,” Longo said during Monday’s episode of the Anik and Florian podcast (via MMA Fighting). “Because the other thing that I think people are missing is he didn’t go down when he got kneed. He would have kept fighting.”
“This is what nobody gets. He’s already in a different mindset now. You’re f—ng with a guy in the middle of the fight,” he continued. “Now you tell a guy there’s an illegal knee, you encourage a guy to take a break, you’re changing the guy’s mindset.”
In most cases, a referee’s call should remain final, and reversing it could possibly put his or her credibility into question. This was another issue that greatly bothered Longo.
“Stick to your f—ng decision. I want to know who the hell convinced him to change his mind,” Longo said. “Take it step by step. Stick to your call and that’s it.”
In a statement released by the New York State Athletic Commission, Miragliotta consulted fellow referee John McCarthy before coming up with the decision to reverse his initial call.