A welterweight contest at UFC 221 had a pretty blatant — and gruesome — foul. To make things worse, the referee just allowed it to happen.
As Jake Matthews was trying to finish a guillotine choke on Li Jingliang, the Chinese fighter dug his fingers in and gouged his eyes. Matthews’ eyelid was cut, and his vision was blurred because of the obvious and blatant foul, and Li was able to get out of the choke and get on top.
The referee saw it, but didn’t stop the action and allowed Li to escape and get on top. Instead of disqualifying or taking a point, the official just spoke to Li after the round ended. He gave him a verbal warning, saying that with one more foul, he would take a point away.
Despite a bad cut and blurry vision, Matthews managed to finish the two rounds and win a lopsided decision.
Following the win, the 23-year-old handled the situation with class.
“No hard feelings at all,” Matthews said after picking up the win, saying things naturally happen on the heat of the fight and people will do anything to survive.
Earlier in the first round, Li defended a rear naked choke by grabbing and putting his fingers in Matthews’ gloves. The referee allowed that to happen too.