While Bellator 180 brought a packed card and some legendary old school fighters to the plate in New York City on Saturday, the UFC fielded a lower key event in Oklahoma City on Sunday night – and the event was memeorable for several wrong reasons.
First up was the weigh-ins which saw former welterweight, Johny Hendricks, step up to the middleweight division to face Tim Boestch. Hendricks had previously struggled to make weight in the lower divisions and it was expected that a move up in weight would make for an easier cut for Big-Rig. Unfortunately, he still missed weight by 3lbs, coming in at 188 for the 185 limit.
Things didn’t go well for him on fight night either, as Boestch put him down with a ferocious head-kick in the second round and quickly followed it up with a peppering of uppercuts that saw the former welterweight champion curl up and the ref call the fight for Tim.
The main event pitched Michael Chiesa against Kevin Lee – a fight that had some bad blood behind it after Lee had mentioned Chiesa’s mother during the press conference. The fight was going well for Lee in the first round – Chiesa had fought most of it on his back and eaten a fair few shots, but was still far from beaten, when Lee took his back and sunk in a deep choke.
The ref, Mario Yamasaki, quickly intervened and called the fight in Lee’s favour, prompting outcry from Chiesa, who rightly pointed out that he hadn’t tapped and was still conscious and capable of defending himself. Dana White agreed and posted a scathing dig at Mario Yamasaki on instagram, saying, “Mario Mazzagatti does it again!!! This guy is more concerned with doing this dumb ass heart bullshit then Ref’n the fight!!!” he wrote. “Steals a great moment from Lee or let Mike fight it or tap. Nobody gives a shit that u can make a heart with ur hands like a 12 year old girl they want u to pay attention to what’s going on in the fight and do ur job.”
White has since promised a rematch for Chiesa. Personally, I’d rather a referee step in too soon and save a fighter from damage, than worry about getting on Dana’s bad side, but he was a touch too swift to judge.
The final indignity falls to Justine Kish who was fighting Felice Herrig. The strawweight nearly ended her fight with Herrig on her back and a choke sunk in deep, but she managed to escape it, prompting Dominick Cruz to praise her toughness in the commentary booth. Five seconds later, she found herself still in a bad position which she tried to explode out of. Unfortunately, the choke had taken it’s toll and that wasn’t the only thing that exploded as some suspicious staining began to make itself obvious on the mats.
Kish took the subsequent social media comedians in her stride and tweeted, with good humour, “I am a warrior, and I will never quit #ShitHappens haha be back soon.”