Last Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 26 Facebook preliminary card concluded with a battle between TUF 5 teammates Cole Miller and Manny Gamburyan. The bout saw a bit of controversy however, as Gamburyan appeared to be finished in the first before rallying for the victory. Miller has announced the week that he will be appealing the result of the fight to the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC).
The controversy stems from how Gamburyan went down at the end of the first round went down at the end of the round. While Gamburyan felt Miller’s elbow strikes were to the back of the head, replays showed they were close to that definition, since the strikes were not deemed illegal the fight should have been called when Gamburyan could not get to his corner. Referee Yves Lavigne seemed particularly perplexed by the incident, and allowed the fight to continue after clearance from the ringside physician.
Miller talked about the incident in a statement to FOX Sports:
“It was just real odd,” said Miller. “The referee didn’t give any indication the fight was over, he also didn’t signal it was a foul. I looked at Manny and then the ref to see what was going on. I had my hand on Manny in a sportsmanlike way to sort of encourage the process and get things moving. “A referee doesn’t have to say if a strike is legal, a referee has to say if a strike was illegal,” he continued. “No indication was made, but after the fight, the strike was deemed legal. The referee said it was a legal strike. To me, I’ve seen the footage and they all seem to indicate a legal strike.”
It will be interesting to see how Miller’s appeal works out with MSAC. While judgement calls are rarely overturned without blatant evidence, Miller’s request would be hard to deny if he focuses on the procedural issue of Gamburyan not being able to make his way back to his corner without help. A referee is supposed to deem the bout a TKO if the fighter is unable to do so, or do so in a timely manner (i.e. Bellator’s Awad-Rickels). Since the bout was not stopped to examine an illegal blow, Miller will have a case for his appeal.