Anthony Smith Criticizes Referee For Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan

Anthony Smith doesn’t agree with how referee Mark Smith handled the end of Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan.

Sterling vs. Yan has had the MMA world buzzing but not for the reason many anticipated. In the fourth round of their UFC 259 title bout, Yan landed an illegal knee to the head of Sterling. The problem with the strike was that Sterling’s knee was down. Since the strike was deemed intentional and Sterling could not continue, “Funkmaster” won via DQ and became the new UFC Bantamweight Champion.

During an interview with Damon Martin of, Smith said he feels the referee put all the responsibility on the Octagon-side doctor rather than making the call to stop the fight sooner.

“I think this shows these referees need to take more responsibility. I always feel like I’m sh*tting on the referees and I’m really not. You’ve never heard me talk about a bad stoppage, a bad referee, I’ve never done that. But what I have done is criticize them for things they’re unwilling to do. It’s because they don’t want to take the heat. They’d rather put it on the doctor.

“Like you seen, Mark Smith right away just passed the buck right off to the doctor. Here’s your job as a referee — if we’re going to task you with the power and ability to know when someone’s hurt in a legal ending shot and you’re supposed to be trained enough and know enough in this sport to know when that guy’s hurt, that you’re going to stop the fight and you’re going to wave it off and no one says anything, why does the legality of that shot matter? That’s my point. The legality of the shot shouldn’t matter. If that knee was legal, he would have stopped that fight right afterwards. Had his knee come up, he would have stopped that fight because Aljo wouldn’t have continued.”

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