A finish like UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo had at UFC Brooklyn, stopping UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in 32 seconds, should be one that’s still talked about. Unfortunately, it’s a finish surrounded with controversy.
Many consider the stoppage to have come too early in fight, as it looked like while Dillashaw got rocked, he was still trying to grab a hold of Cejudo’s leg and defend. Referee Kevin MacDonald felt he was saving Dillashaw from unnecessary, excess damage, but Dillashaw feels he was robbed of an opportunity to put up a decent performance. And UFC President Dana White agreed.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, current Bellator commentator and longtime referee “Big” John McCarthy said he understood why MacDonald felt stepping in was the right thing to do.
“I’m not into saying what’s good or bad. Kevin made a decision,” McCarthy said. “It’s his decision, he’s the one that’s got to live with his decision, along with TJ and the UFC themselves.
McCarthy said he, however, also would have let the fight continue, with the main reason being the champion vs. champion build and the hype surrounding the fight, including the unknown future of the flyweight division.
“This is not a fight between two guys who are just brought together like ‘Oh we’re going to match this fight up,’ whatever fight it is. It’s not, you know, Fighter A against Fighter B. This is a fight where both guys have earned the right to be in the position. They’ve both created a background that’s put them in the position of being champions, and now these are champions going after each other — one to save his entire weight class basically, the other to prove ‘those guys are not as good as me.'”
“You look what happens. That fight is a young fight. It’s 25 seconds [in]. When Henry hits TJ with a shot, it hurts him, no doubt about it. It puts him down. When you’re a referee, you’ve got to understand certain things. What you’ve got to understand is, I’ve got two guys who are champions. Not all fights are the same. You’re going to hear a lot of referees go ‘you referee every fight the same,’ but I’m going to tell you, that’s a referee that has no clue what they’re doing.
“TJ, you see, reaching, he’s got the leg [after he was dropped]. He’s trying to collect himself and you’ve got to give him that opportunity, because again, he’s got a full tank of gas. He hasn’t received damage over a couple of rounds. It wasn’t like he was exhausted. Those are elements you factor in when you decide if you’re going to stop a fight or not.”
Cejudo has offered the chance for he and Dillashaw to run the fight back, but Cejudo wants to do it at 135 pounds and be the one in the role of challenger with Dillashaw’s title on the line. The future of the UFC flyweight division also still remains uncertain.
Original Story: MMA Mania