Last Saturday night, featherweight knockout artist Jeremy Stephens performed his latest act of savagery, this time at the expense of Team Alpha Male’s Josh Emmett, who he put down with a second-round shelling of punches, knees, and elbows.
Regrettably, Stephens’s win has been shadowed in controversy, as several of the strikes he threw in the fight-ending sequence are widely believed to have been illegal.
The most obvious offender was a knee Stephens threw as Emmett had two knees and a hand on the mat. This knee seemed to graze the back of Emmett’s head. A few of Stephens’s elbows also seemed to make impact on the back of Emmett’s head.
Having now had the chance to review the fight, Emmett, who is appealing the loss, feels referee Dan Miragliotta should have paused the fight after Stephens’ illegal knee.
“I’m not saying [Stephens] is a dirty fighter at all, but after watching it, I just wish I had more of a fair chance,” Emmett said on The MMA Hour (h/t MMAFighting). “I wish Dan would have done his job. If he would have stopped the fight, I would have gotten a little time to recover or they maybe took a point away from Stephens. It could have been a completely different outcome.”
Emmett then weighed in on the great knee debate, explaining that it doesn’t matter how hard the knee landed, or what ruleset was in effect – it was still illegal.
“I didn’t know what hit me,” Emmett said. “But it definitely skimmed me after watching it and coming down. And regardless of the new rules or the old rules, I was still a downed opponent, because both knees were down. Even if one hand or two hands was up, it was still an illegal blow.”
“It was a fight,” he added. “I know he wasn’t trying to do that in the heat of the battle. But man, there’s a reason why there’s rules in place. So I think they should have implemented them. It’s frustrating now. But it is what it is.”
Whatever the case, Emmett is hopeful that he’ll be granted a rematch with Stephens so that a more decisive, less controversial end can be produced.
“I would like a rematch,” he said. “I won the first round, I was winning the second round, doing really well. He caught me just perfect, little left hook on the chin. I was composing, getting back up and then I just felt like some of those illegal blows made it a lot worse for me.”
Where do you stand on the controversies surrounding Josh Emmett’s loss to Jeremy Stephens?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/27/2018.