At UFC Fight Night 128 this weekend, Merab Dvalishvili was pretty much kicking Ricky Simon’s butt for three full rounds. But in the final minute or so, Dvalishvili ducked down for a takedown attempt, Simon latched onto his neck with a guillotine choke, and after some rolling, Simon was in mount, cranking the hold.
Dvalishvili fought it, and never stopped kicking his legs, lest the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board referee (Liam Kerrigan, a former fighter himself) jump in and declare the bout over. It was for naught, though. When the final horn sounded, Kerrigan pulled them apart.
Alas, Kerrigan ruled the bout a TKO stoppage (i.e., technical submission) for Simon. Chaos ensued.
Was Dvalishvili truly out?
Well, referee Marc Goddard, who wasn’t in the cage but was nearby, has chimed in. As per MMAFighting:
“I think it was pretty clear at the end of the fight, maybe even before, when the bell sounded, Dvalishvili … he was out,” Goddard said. “He was actually out. And in that instance, it’s like any other instance if you pick up a rear-naked choke or a guillotine. The fact that he drifts into unconsciousness was actually — it should be recorded as a submission, technical submission.”
“There was a bit of confusion, it was loud, and I just wanted to make sure that they weren’t going to go to the scorecards, because that’s the way it looked like it was going to be heading,” Goddard explained. “But the referee Liam Kerrigan, to his credit, when he saw [Dvalishvili] was out, he actually waved it off. And I think there was a little bit of a rush, people thought we were going to try and read the scorecards, so I said, ‘No, no, no. The guy has lost the fight.’ Even though he came around pretty sharp afterwards, he most definitely lost the fight under the ruling and the right guy went away with the win.”
What do you think? Was it the right call?