Ask a fan who watched or was at UFC 210 in Buffalo, NY Saturday night, and they will most likely answer you with, “What. Just. Happened?” History was made once again and controversy could come around from the co-main event, and may very well be appealed.
The co-main event between Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi ended in controversy after referee Dan Miragliotta believed Mousasi dealt an illegal knee during a series of two knees to Weidman, proceeding to stop the fight. The second knee was the one considered illegal by Miragliotta. As some may know, there were some recent rule changes to MMA fights, which took effect on Jan. 1st, 2017 applied by the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC). One of them included criteria of what is considered a “downed opponent.”
The new rules state, “A grounded fighter is defined as: Any part of the body, other than a single hand and feet touching the fighting area floor. To be grounded, both hands and feet, palm/fist down, and/or any other body part must be touching the fighting area floor. At this time, kicks or knees to the head will not be allowed.” At the time of the second knee, Weidman’s hands were up off of the ground, deeming the knee legal. A doctor entered the cage to inspect Weidman after the knee, again assuming the knee was illegal. Miragliotta conferred with officials from the New York State Athletic Commission, and Miragliotta took a look at the review video, despite that not being allowed by the NYSAC. To the dismay of Weidman though, the doctor deemed him “unfit to fight,” and the fight was waved off, giving Gegard Mousasi a TKO win at 1:47 of Round 2.
Weidman said in the post-fight press conference that he plans to appeal this decision, only mainly because Miragliotta looked at the replay. “I don’t know what’s going on with the commission. The head of the commission said there’s no replay in the state, so why the (expletive) did this happen to me?” he said. Mousasi seemed unhappy after the fight was called off as well. Ariel Helwani stating in a tweet that “Mousasi looks mad and is telling his corner not to celebrate.”
Now moving on to the main event which had plenty of anticipation behind it. The rematch between the most feared wrestler in the UFC, the Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, and one of the most feared strikers in the UFC, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. It seemed like the gameplans were set in stone for both fighters, “DC” doing his usual wrestling techniques, and Johnson putting on a striking showcase.
But the fighting world was taken by surprise.
Johnson’s gameplan was different from his usual, clinching a lot more with Cormier than their previous fight in 2015, which Cormier did win by submission. Johnson even took down Cormier once in the fight, but that was the worst mistake that Johnson could make. Cormier took Johnson’s back, and the rest is history. Cormier submitted Johnson at 1:20 of Round 2 to reclaim the title.
Cormier had lots to say after his win, including jawing with fellow light-heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa and even calling on his arch-nemesis Jon Jones, who is still on suspension for a doping violation before a fight with Cormier at the milestone UFC 200 event. “Who? Who? Is that guy even eligible yet?” Cormier said when commentator Joe Rogan pointed out that Jones was in attendance.
But the biggest surprise came before Cormier conducted his post-fight interview. Johnson announced a shocking retirement inside the Octagon. “It’s just business,” Johnson said at the post-fight press conference. “I want to do something besides going to the gym everyday punching and kicking and rolling around with another dude.” Johnson leaves behind a 22-6 record in professional MMA competition, including wins over Glover Teixeira, Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader, and Andrei Arlovski.
Along with Johnson, welterweight veteran of Canada, Patrick Cote, announced his retirement in the Octagon after a loss to Thiago Alves. On the main card, Cynthia Calvillo grabbed a submission win over newcomer Pearl Gonzalez in a fight that almost didn’t happen, and Charles Oliveira submitted Will Brooks in Oliveira’s return to the lightweight division.