Leslie Smith was extremely upset with the ref’s decision to stop her bout on Saturday with Cris “Cyborg” Justino, and Chael Sonnen is on the same page with the bantamweight.
“Cyborg” sent Smith to the mat with several big punches at UFC 198, and the bout was called at the 1:21 mark. Smith, who was trying to defend herself when the fight was stopped, was very, very angry with the call.
“This was no fault of the competitors, they went and did their job, but the referee did what we call an early stoppage. There was no historical, justifiable, reputable placement for this referee to place his decision. And outside of us commenting on it on SportsCenter, there will be no form of discipline done so we might as well not even talk about. He will be back in the ring next wee with no explanation given. And that’s just the reality. This was terrible I am upset about this. They came to fight, one girl went down and she never stopped moving. The rule book says she has to stop moving or be in danger and the referee stopped it. They might as well go and break you and I up right now. It was that ridiculous.”
There you have it. “Cyborg” supporters and others would likely argue that the ref just spared Smith from taking any more punishment. But, you can definitely understand why she and Sonnen see it otherwise. Smith has shown in the past that she’s ridiculously rugged, so, it’s too bad she wasn’t given at least a couple more seconds to work her way out.
It doesn’t seem like the stoppage has tainted “Cyborg’s” debut, as much of the coverage is about how the fact she needed less than two minutes to earn her first UFC win. Further, a lot of the post-fight discussion has been regarding who the UFC might have her fight next. The Brazilian is also expected to defend her Invicta FC featherweight belt in the coming months.