By far, the most important job that a combat sports referee has is to protect the fighters when they are unable to protect themselves.
It’s a hard and thankless job at times; the refs are often put in impossible situations and cop criticism for things that are completely beyond their control.
If they stop the bout too early then they’re labelled idiots who ruined the fight but stop it too late and they’re psychopaths who have no concern for the fighter’s welfare but in many cases, there are mitigating circumstances that need to be taken into account.
We’ve all seen some appalling decisions by referees inside the Octagon, ranging from too early stoppages to ones so late they’d make Mario Yamasaki ask what the fu*k the ref was up to.
‘I love it when the light in their eyes fades’
Roy Nelson vs Bigfoot Silva
It’s easy to criticise from our armchairs, without the lights and deafening noise that come with a live event. Still, if you’re talking the worst stoppage of all time, it’d be hard to go past this shocker.
In the following video, a fighter gets his opponent into a tight guillotine and chokes him til he’s unconscious. Although it’s obvious to everyone in attendance that the guy is out, the one man who has the power to put a stop to the fight – the referee – allows the ‘contest’ to continue for some unknown bloody reason.
Even after lifting the fighters limp leg and then limp arm, he still refuses to call a stop to the bout. After what feels like an age, his cornermen jump into the cage and one of them starts dropping bombs on the fighter who is applying the guillotine in order to get him to release his grip.
Thankfully, this seems to do the trick – he lets go and helps to bring the guy back around. If it wasn’t for the dude’s corner, god knows how long that sorry excuse for a ref would have let it go on for!
Derrick Lewis vs Travis Browne
CHECK OUT THE WORST STOPPAGE OF ALL TIME ON THE PLAYER BELOW:
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