After UFC 179’s main event started quickly, with both fighters trading shots and rocking one another, the first round was coming to a close. In the final few seconds, Aldo backed Mendes against the cage and landed a jab that seemingly stunned Mendes, then the round ended and Aldo landed a jab-cross combination that sent Mendes to the mat. On TV what fans saw was an incredibly dirty move that left many viewers with a bad taste in their mouth going into the second round.
UFC President Dana White, and UFC featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo both painted a very different, but understandable scenario for the late punches.
White spoke to MMAJunkie about the situation.
“After that first round, a couple people came over and started saying, ‘He hit him with two punches after the bell. That was late.’ I didn’t hear anything. It was so loud in that arena, I didn’t hear it. It didn’t look like the referee heard it.”
“I guess on TV, it looked really dirty, like real deliberate punches after the bell. I was in that arena, and I didn’t hear anything. I didn’t hear the bell. I didn’t hear anything. Maybe some people did, maybe some people didn’t, but I didn’t.
“I don’t think it was deliberate, not to mention that normally the referee is right there when the bell rings to break it up in case that would happen. I don’t think he heard it either. So that’s my two cents.”
Aldo spoke at the post-fight press conference when asked about the incident.
“It was like deja vu. When it was about to end right there, I thought I had already won the fight. So I landed two punches, and the ref got in front of me, and I thought I had won, but the round was over.
“I heard the crowd. Everyone was screaming, and I thought I was going to be able to run into the crowd again, but they put me back in, and we had to restart the fight.”