There is an ongoing debate about how the main card fight between Ben Askren and Robbie Lawler stoppage. But as far as the Nevada Athletic Commission is concerned, the correct verdict was rendered.
NAC executive director Bob Bennett spoke to members of the media after the event, explaining what he had seen from his perspective that made him agree with referee Herb Dean’s decision.
“On the bulldog choke on Robbie, you could see it right in front of us that when Herb picked up his hand, his hand just dropped,” Bennett explained. “It just dropped, which could be indicative of him being out. And then he went ahead and grabbed his hand again, and it came up a little and it moved ever so slightly.
“There was no doubt in our mind that he was out.”
Nevada is one of the US states that makes use of the instant replay policy, which should allow officials to take a second look at a disputed incident. But according to Bennett, it was not necessary in this situation.
“In that particular instance, no we didn’t need instant replay,” Bennett said. “Herb didn’t ask for it, nor did I think we needed it because it was right in front of me. And when you take a look at his arm, it was a like a no-brainer.
“Could he have come back shortly after and oxygen got back to the brain? That he was out and all of a sudden he came back? Sure,” he continued. “But when you see that arm just drop, it’s just not worth it for us (and) for the fighter.
“And instead of saying we’re customer service-oriented, we’re fighter service-oriented. And our actions speak for our words.”
UFC president Dana White, on the other hand, is not in agreement with the result, and is adamant about doing a rematch, despite Ben Askren’s own disapproval.
“Bad stoppage,” White said during his post-fight media scrum. “We had a debate, me the referee, and the commission over being choked out. I’ve been choked out many times before, too. And one of the things you don’t do is jump right up and say ‘What the f—k did you just do?’ Never happens that way.
“It was a bad stoppage, it happens. What are you gonna do?”