A bit of controversy from this past weekend’s UFC Vegas 41 headliner between Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori. Referee Jason Herzog took a point from Costa for an eye poke, which Daniel Cormier thinks could’ve been done out of emotion.
“Big John” McCarthy spoke about the incident during a recent episode of his Weighing In podcast with Josh Thomson. The former longtime referee explained how Costa could’ve possibly used the break in the action to get a little breather, and that’s what urged Herzog to take action.
“(Costa) does it at a time when he’s getting tired, and he needs a rest. And if people out there say all the time, ‘Oh, a fighter would never do that.’ Fighters cheat all the time,” McCarthy explained.
“I can’t tell you how many times a guy is tired and gets into a clinch, and purposely brings a knee up the middle because ‘I need a rest. So if the referee’s gonna hear this clunk on this cup, I’m gonna get some rest. That’s what I need right now.’
“There are guys out there that do it. Now, there’s a ton that don’t, but there are a lot that do. And you’ve got to be able to deal with those accordingly, and that’s exactly what Jason did. It was a great call proving why he’s one of the best.”
McCarthy says it would’ve been a different situation if Costa was doing better at the time.
“If Paulo Costa was doing well at that moment, and was leading the fight and was pushing Marvin and Marvin was having a problem, he might not have gotten that because it’s not benefitting him. It’s when it benefits him,” he explained.
“He’s getting benefitted twice. Two different separate areas. He’s tired, he gets a rest with no complications to it. And he doesn’t have someone that has now done something to his eye that he has to deal with. Marvin’s got two things working against him, that’s why Jason did what he did.
“He’s gaining two advantages, and Herzog is gonna say, ‘Alright, I’m gonna have to try and even this out. It’s the same as if you have somebody that there are times when you have someone that he’s actually leading the fight.
“And he causes the foul — and the foul is based upon movement and stuff — you’re not gonna take a point. ‘Cause he’s taking himself out of that scenario where he’s actually doing better. He’s leading in the fight. It’s not benefitting him.”
“And so (the ref) might say, ‘I’m not gonna take a point here because I don’t have to even this out, just the break for his opponent is gonna even this out.’”