Alistair Overeem was ahead on points for four rounds during his fight against Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC DC on Saturday. But at the 4:56 mark of round five, referee Dan Miragliotta decided to step in to stop the fight after Overeem was dropped by a right hand.
Many including Overeem himself feel that the stoppage was a little premature. Former referee turned analyst “Big John” partially agrees, but he is willing to give Miragliotta a pass.
“I have no problem with the actual stoppage,” McCarthy told co-host Josh Thomson on the Weighing In podcast (transcript by BJPenn.com). “And the reason why is what happened with the actual stoppage is that when Alistair Overeem popped up, when you saw him pop up what did he do? He stumbles over and that’s when Dan called it. The problem if you’re going to look and say is there a problem with the stoppage? Yes, there kind of was, and I don’t want to pick on Dan in this at all.
“This is one of those, it’s so hard to be Dan in that situation and for people to understand what is going through his mind right there because he comes in when Jairzinho hits Alistair and when Alistair goes down, Dan is coming in and he’s trying to pass over the spacing of those two guys,” he added.
“And he’s trying to see because he’s looking at Alistair, he’s not looking at Jairzinho and Jairzinho stops and Dan comes into him, and his hands touch Jairzinho, and that basically tells Jairzinho, ‘Oh that’s the referee.’ And he puts his hands up and he starts walking away. Dan had not called the fight.”
Fighter safety is one of the main priorities of a presiding referee. In this regard, McCarthy says Miragliotta was just doing his job.
“I was really glad honestly that Alistair didn’t just pop up and stand there,” McCarthy said. “There was that stumble because that gave Dan the ability to say, ‘I’m not going to let you go on in the fight.’
“But he could have because he knew the 10-second clapper went off, so he is counting down in his head. He knows there are only five seconds left in this round when he calls the fight, so he’s calling it based on the safety of Alistair Overeem. A lot of people aren’t going to like it. I don’t have a problem with it.”
Rozenstruik was awarded a TKO win, as he keeps his undefeated record intact at 10-0 (with 9 wins by knockout). Overeem, who cut his lip in half after the final punch, dropped to a record of 45-18 (with 1 NC and 40 wins by stoppage).