Not too many people were pleased about the stoppage of the Jose Aldo-Petr Yan title fight at UFC 251. Most saw it as a fault on referee Leon Roberts’ part for having Aldo absorb way too much damage before stepping in.
Former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate doesn’t share that belief. As she explained during the most recent episode of the Fight Nation podcast on SiriusXM, it’s all in a day’s work for a professional fighter.
"We know exactly what we are risking, and we want to be allowed to risk it."— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) July 16, 2020
After the controversial Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo stoppage, @MieshaTate tells @RyanMcKinnell she'd let Leon Roberts referee her fight any day of the week. #UFC251 pic.twitter.com/LfSbGTrMSi
“I am not a fan of fights being stopped too quick. And people are concerned about safety. My argument is, we are in a hurt business,” Tate said. “We fight for a living. We sign on the dotted line and we know exactly what we are risking, and we want to be allowed to risk it. We don’t want to be stolen from. We don’t want to be robbed. We don’t fights to be stopped quickly.”
To further explain her argument, “Cupcake” noted how both fighters were still shifting positions during the exchange.
“About two times, I was like, ‘oh, you know, he could stop it here,’” she said. “And the ref chose not to. And I didn’t feel upset about that because right when I thought, like, ‘ah, he should probably stop it,’ there was a slow down in the action.
“Petr adjusted position, or Jose moved, and it was, like, ‘Yeah, that could’ve been stopped right there, maybe it should’ve been stopped.’”
Tate believes even Aldo knew things were already looking bleak as he was getting rained on by punches. But what’s important for her is that a fighter is given enough opportunities to defend and turn things around.
“I do think Jose Aldo knew that the fight was done before the ref decided to step in. I don’t think that anything was gonna change,” Tate said. “But I’m not upset by it. I don’t think it was a horrible stoppage. Do I think it could’ve been stopped earlier? Yeah, and I wouldn’t have been upset by it. I think it definitely could’ve been called at least two times before that, and I would’ve felt it was a good stoppage.
“But the referee chose to let them fight it out and give ample opportunity. And you know, Petr, on the other hand, probably should’ve kept going and not taken those pauses, sped it up, done something a little bit to change how he was delivering his flurries. Maybe done a little Joanna Jedrzejczyk.”
The 33-year-old Tate hasn’t fought since she retired in 2016. But if given the choice, she would want Roberts to be the third man in the Octagon if she got back in there.
“I would way rather have a referee who lets fighters be fighters than somebody who wants to overdo their job and stops fights soon. For me, that’s the key,” Tate said.
“I would have that man referee my fight any day of the week.”
Among those who critiqued Roberts’ officiating was UFC president Dana White, who called it a “horrible, horrible stoppage.”