Back in July, in the main event of UFC Glasgow, Argentine striking specialist Santiago Ponzinibbio scored an impressive KO win over Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson. Unfortunately, Ponzinibbio’s win was mired in controversy, as he seemed to land multiple inadvertent eye-pokes in the lead-up to the fight-ending blow.
In the wake of his loss to Ponzinibbio, Nelson complained repeatedly that the eye-pokes were a significant catalyst to the loss.
“I don’t like to make excuses, but this is the truth, how I feel anyway, is I should have stopped the fight when I got poked,” Nelson said (h/t MMAFighting.com). “I should have stopped it then because I’m seeing two Ponzinibbios in front of me. And that was like that until I remember standing up and the fight was over.”
“I should have stopped it then and I’m not saying, like, he did a good job and maybe it would have happened anyway,” he continued. “Maybe my reflexes just wouldn’t have been enough to move away from the punch, but this is how I felt, like, I’m kind of kicking myself in the head for not just stopping the fight and being greedy, because I caught him and I thought he was on the run.”
Nelson and his team also attempted to have his loss to Ponzinibbio overturned. Unfortunately for the Icelandic fighter and his team, this attempt went nowhere. On Tuesday night, Nelson’s management team, Paradigm Sports Management, announced that the appeal process had failed, and shared their disappointment with this development.
“We are disappointed with the UFC’s recent ruling to uphold the result of the July 16, 2017 bout between our client, Gunnar Nelson, and Santiago Ponzinibbio. While we understand the outcome of a fight is difficult to overturn, we maintain that the blatant eye pokes were a major factor in the stoppage and the final eye poke was certainly a fight ending foul because Gunnar had no opportunity to signal the referee. A more stringent application of the Unified Rules of MMA should have been applied here to rule this fight a no-contest. We stand behind Gunnar and Team Nelson, and we hope this unfortunate situation will lead to more careful application of the rules regarding eye pokes, as fairness and fighter safety must always be a priority.”
Do you think Gunnar Nelson’s loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio was fair?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/13/2017.