Having suffered just the second knockout loss of his sixteen-year MMA career, Bellator MMA lightweight Josh Thomson filed an appeal to change the result of his February main event vs. Patricky “Pitbull” Freire to a technical draw. Thomson cited an accidental clash of heads in the sequence just prior to the ending, with Thomson falling to the mat, throwing an upkick, returning to his feet, followed by Pitbull putting him away with an uppercut and hammerfists. You can watch full video of their contest by clicking this link.
Thomson’s introductory statement in his letter reads as follows:
On February 18, 2017, I competed in a bout against fighter Patricky "Pitbull" Freire. In the second round, I received a head-butt which was an unintentional foul that put me in a trans state. I anticipated that the foul would be called and paused to look at the referee for direction. However, no foul was called.
Immediately following the foul, I took a punch that took me to the ground which then resulted in a KO.
One issue in question is whether the foul changed the momentum of the fight that resulted in my KO.
The other issue in question is, should my fight be ruled a Technical Draw as the injury I sustained by foul allowed my opponent to win by contributing to the injury I sustained when fouled.
Thomson concluded his appeal by saying, “This unintentional foul should have interrupted the bout allowing me to recover. After speaking with the referee of my fight and discussing the foul, I was encouraged to file my complaint. I would like to ask the Commission to review my bout and change my result to a Technical Draw.”
At Tuesday’s California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) meeting, the board unanimously denied Thomson’s appeal, so no changes will be made to the result.
“After multiple reviews of the video,” the commission summary read, “we determined that an accidental clash of heads did occur, which caused Mr. Thompson [sic] to fall to the ground, but this was before he stood back up and continued the fight only to be countered with an uppercut causing the knockout.”
Following the commission’s decision, Patricky Pitbull released this statement (via his manager) to Bloody Elbow:
"I'm glad the Commission has upheld the result. I was sure there was no relation to the headbutt he hit me with and me finishing him later.
“I didn't even feel that headbutt and only when I got to the locker room I saw the video and found it it had happened. But looking at it, you can clearly see he's the one connecting with me while I'm distancing and lowering myself. And he has one of his feet still in the air as he's moving inside. So that to me actually looks like a loss of balance and not really the impact knocking him down. I mean, I'd have felt it if it was that strong.
“Thomson is a legend and I have all the respect in the world for him, but I find it a bit outrageous he tried to have the result overturned. If he wants a rematch, all he has to do is ask Bellator for it.
“I would never want an unfair win. I would never cheat my way to a win either. I'm glad the video evidence clearly shows I didn't and that it also shows Josh was in perfect condition after his head hit mine. Justice was served."
In Pitbull’s declaration to the commission, he wrote that “If anything, I was the one fouled. He projected his head at mine, albeit unintentionally, while rushing inside to hit me with his punches and ended up clashing with me while I was lowering and distancing myself from him.”
Freire is scheduled to rematch Derek Campos in the Bellator 181 main event in July, while Thomson does not have a fight booked. You can read the commission’s entire review, along with Thomson’s appeal, Freire’s full response, and the letter by referee John McCarthy, in this PDF link (pages 58-67).