Coach Eugene Bareman thanked God Marc Goddard refereed the UFC 281 main event between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira, and not Steve Mazzagatti.
Although now-defeated middleweight champ Adesanya feels he could have survived Pereira’s fifth-round onslaught, coach Bareman ‘saw some signs that he [Adesanya] was in trouble’ and feels Goddard made the right call in stopping the fight.
During a recent interview with Combat TV, the City Kickboxing founder explained why he felt the stoppage was fair despite some fighters being ‘pretty annoyed’ with Goddard’s decision.
“I can’t sit here and truthfully say that was an early stoppage,” Bareman said (h/t Sportskeeda). “I’m happy with the stoppage personally. I thought Israel was in trouble. Of all my experience that I’ve had in the sport, I saw some signs that he was in trouble.”
“I felt that prolonging the fight longer than when Marc Goddard stopped it would’ve ended up not good for Israel’s health. So, I’m happy with the referee’s decision,” he added. “At the end of the day, we live to fight another day. You never know what could’ve happened if that fight had been allowed to progress.”
UFC 281 marked Adesanya’s first stoppage loss in MMA and the first time he had been defeated at middleweight and usurped of the championship. He is expected to rematch Pereira next year in an attempt to reclaim the title.