The ending of UFC 244’s headliner fight between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz did not sit well for many fans. After three full rounds of action, New York neurologist Dr. Nitin K. Sethi decided to stop the fight, giving “Gamebred” the TKO win.
The reason for the stoppage was the cuts Diaz had on the right side of his face. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Dr. Sethi revealed to have been bombarded by online threats from irate and dissatisfied fans.
“I’m a very good neurologist and a very good doctor, and calling me f—ing scum online and calling my office staff and yelling at them, threatening me, I fear for my health and safety,” he said. “Somebody’s going to get hurt, and it’s probably going to be me this time.
”People don’t realize what they do when they talk about these things. But that’s the hard reality of this sport.”
Dr. Sethi defended his decision, stating he was looking at the bigger picture which led to his decision. He felt he was simply doing his job, which is to prioritize fighter safety above anything else.
“I made an objective call based on my assessment of the fighter,” he explained. “Not just the cut, but the overall assessment of the fighter (and) how the fight was going. Once I felt I could not guarantee the health and safety going forward, I had to make a tough call.
”The moment I lose my objectivity and I’m concerned how my actions are viewed by the UFC, by the fans, by the media, then I cease to be a ringside physician, and I cease to be doing my job. I have to be objective, and objectively, you make a call.
“Going forward off that third round, I could not guarantee his health and safety,” he added. “When in doubt, you have to do what you have to do to protect the athlete’s safety. His health and safety comes first. Every action of mine has to be viewed with that foremost in everybody’s mind, but that doesn’t happen.”
Because of the backlash he received, what concerns Dr. Sethi is whether his fellow doctors will make the right calls if anything similar happens in the future.
“You have a very, very charged crowd, and you just make it more charged,” he said. “I was walking back [from the cage] and people from the top were yelling at me, ‘f—k this, f—k that.’”
“After what happened to me, let me tell you one thing: The only thing sad about this will be you’ll have doctors who will now be very afraid to make calls,” Dr. Sethi added. “And when people are scared to make calls because they’re so afraid of the repercussions, I think we’re entering dangerous territory.”
The TKO verdict marks Diaz’s second stoppage loss in the UFC. He demanded a rematch right after the fight, but expects some “f-ckery” from the promotion that may deprive him of the opportunity.