Referee Big John McCarthy gives his take on Kevin Lee vs. Michael Chiesa stoppage controversy

June 26, 2017 9:05 am by Tom Taylor
John McCarthy responds to Daniel Cormier

Last night, in the main event of the UFC’s anticipated trip to Oklahoma City, Michael Chiesa lost by submission to “The MoTown Phenom” Kevin Lee. The unfortunate thing is that, while Lee’s rear-naked choke was deep, Chiesa never actually tapped out or lost consciousness. Instead, referee Mario Yamasaki misread the situation, and stopped the fight early.

Since then, Yamasaki has received a good deal of criticism, as everyone from Chiesa to UFC President Dana White has shared their distaste for his officiating.

Now, veteran referee Big John McCarthy – probably the most respected referee in the game – weighed in on Yamasaki’s blunder. Surprisingly, McCarthy seems to be leaning in the direction of Team Yamasaki on this one, as he suggested Chiesa wasn’t adequately defending himself.

“What is unfortunate is that [Kevin Lee] was booed for a phenomenal performance,” McCarthy said when asked for his opinion on the stoppage by a fan. “That choke was TIGHT & was not being defended.” 

While McCarthy claims the fight was not being defended, Chiesa has assured he was just fine, despite the tightness of the choke.

“The second I saw [Yamasaki] coming in, I instantly knew,” Chiesa said during the FS1 post-fight show. “The guy has a reputation for poor officiating.” 

“Everybody knows I’ve fought the best blackbelts in my division. Jim Miller, Joe Lauzon, Beneil Dariush, all these guys have taken my back in the first round. I always get out, and I always win. You robbed me. So I think it’s only right that me and my team, we go back, we go to the commission and do what we can to get this overturned. And I’m going to look to get a rematch. I’ll fight him in Detroit, I’ll fight him in December, I’ll fight him right now. We’re going to run it back, there’s no way we’re not, I’m not going to have this opportunity robbed from me like this.”

Do you agree with John McCarthy’s take on things?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/26/2017.


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