Being a combat sports referee is not an easy job and is subject to intense scrutiny on a regular basis (especially from us as fans). With that said, there is literally nothing defensible about what happened at this amateur MMA event in Brazil.
Referee Kleber Lopes was the third man in the cage for a 198-pound match between Jessian Lucas and Michael Douglas (definitely not the actor). The modified rule for this card was that strikes to the head of a grounded opponent are not allowed. Keep that in mind when you see footage of Douglas planting Lucas with a head kick. Fight should be over anyway because Lucas is totally gone, but Douglas dives in and punches him some more and then the ref intervenes.
Copa Thunder Fight de MMA Amador. Por que? pic.twitter.com/VFEydIQHj7— Barrele la pierna (@Barrelelapierna) November 16, 2020
...Except he didn’t call the fight over. He presumably realized that Douglas shouldn’t have thrown those head strikes while Lucas was down, but there was no admonishment or anything. All he did was let a wobbled Douglas woozily get back to his feet so he could restart the action. Predictably, Lucas blasted him right back down and that was that.
The National Athletic Commission of MMA (CANMMA) saw that all unfold and has suspended Lopes for his bad refereeing.
“At 11 seconds of the first round, Michael was knocked out by a high kick to the head and the referee made his first mistake, not interrupting the fight,” the statement read (via MMA Fighting). “He committed the second mistake by allowing the fight to continue with the athlete unconscious.”
“We apologize to the athletes, teams, MMA fans and Thunder Fight for the mistakes committed due to lack of experience of the professionals,” the statement read. “We inform that the referees that committed the mistakes were interns who were getting tested and had no experience as referees, but had undergone rule courses previously.”
Safe to say that the intern failed his test.