Joe Rogan Trashes Referee For Blatant UFC 221 Eye Gouge

Although it was a back-and-forth bout worthy enough to win UFC 221’s ‘Fight of the Night’ in Perth, Australia, last weekend (Sat., Feb. 10, 2018), the welterweight match-up between Jake Matthews and Li JingLiang was marred by a blatant eye gouge from Jingliang that many felt should have disqualified him – let alone allow him […]

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Although it was a back-and-forth bout worthy enough to win UFC 221’s ‘Fight of the Night’ in Perth, Australia, last weekend (Sat., Feb. 10, 2018), the welterweight match-up between Jake Matthews and Li JingLiang was marred by a blatant eye gouge from Jingliang that many felt should have disqualified him – let alone allow him to be rewarded by winning a post-fight bonus bonus.

But a point was not even taken away from “The Leech,’ leading to a justified outcry from many MMA fans. Earlier this week, Octagon commentator Joe Rogan joined those legions, blasting the officiating during the most recent episode of The JRE MMA Show (transcribed by MMA Junkie). To Rogan, Jingliang’s eye poke was simply cheating:

“I thought it was f-cking bullsh-t,” Rogan said. “You can’t let a guy get away with that, or he’s going to do it again. … You don’t do it that way. You tap. It’s straight up cheating; it’s not just shady. It’s cheating.

“They should tell him, ‘If this ever happens again, if you ever think you’re going to do this again, we’re going to kick you out of the league.’ You can’t do that. You can’t gouge someone’s eye when they’re choking you.”

Several fighters have been permanently injured by far less egregious fouls, and Matthews sported what looked like a significant cut despite holding no ill will towards Jingliang, who he thought merely acted in the heat of the moment.

But he may not have brushed the blatant foul off so easily if he had lost the fight, something that was a possibility once Jingliang escaped a potentially fight-ending guillotine choke with the gross infraction.

Because of that, most felt a point should have been deducted at the very least, but the referee instead brushed Jingliang’s fingers nonchalantly, leading to some justifiable outrage. Due to the referee’s perceived incompetence, Rogan said the official should be suspended or fined and unable to referee any longer because a fighter’s vision could be lost:

“It felt like the fingers were in long enough for him to know the fingers were in there,” Rogan said. “The referee f-cked up. The UFC should do something. Someone should do something. Maybe, even in Nevada? You’ve got to look at that and go, ‘Hey man, you can’t ever do this again. And we have to fine you. You should be suspended, and if you ever do this again, you’re out.’ You can’t gouge someone’s eyes. They’ll lose their vision. We can’t have any leniency whatsoever toward intentional eye-gouging. Zero.”

In his opinion, even an unintentional eye gouge should involve the point, but one so obvious and intentional is clearly grounds for disqualification:

“Every time an eye-poke happens, whether it’s intentional or not, take a point away,” Rogan said. “I think it’s a good move. Eye-gouges like that, I think is grounds for disqualification. You can’t allow any room for that. Guys are going to get blind. It could happen. Most guys are completely ethical and would never think of doing this.”

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Mike Goldberg Blasts Recent UFC Broadcasts: We Know What’s Happening

It’s hardly a secret that the UFC’s recent stretch of subpar pay-per-view buys and television ratings has fans wanting more in the MMA-slogged early months of 2018. With an under-promoted and un-anticipated event seemingly every weekend, fans are left with little meat on the proverbial bone, yet are expected to either sit through another grueling […]

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It’s hardly a secret that the UFC’s recent stretch of subpar pay-per-view buys and television ratings has fans wanting more in the MMA-slogged early months of 2018.

With an under-promoted and un-anticipated event seemingly every weekend, fans are left with little meat on the proverbial bone, yet are expected to either sit through another grueling FOX Sports 1 broadcast or pay $65.00 for a watered-down card in order to stay current on the sport they love, not exactly an ideal position for UFC owners Endeavor to put fans in.

It’s lacking a certain something – and many would say that’s UFCmegastar Conor McGregor – but aside from that, some feel the product is just lacking excitement overall. That’s why it’s hardly a surprise to hear Octagon play-by-play man Mike Goldberg call out his former employers for being less than exhilarating.

Ousted from his longtime seat next to Joe Rogan with little fanfare or justification, Goldberg was quickly signed by UFC rival Bellator MMA, and he discussed the differences with Ariel Helwani between the two promotions during this week’s The MMA Hour.

To him, he’s now a competitor, and while he won’t trash any of his former colleagues at the UFC, he added that Bellator’s ratings are going up while the UFC’s are headed the opposite way:

“It’s different, and I’m a competitor, let’s just say that.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure that Bellator has the best TV broadcast in MMA. And that’s not being disrespectful to anybody. Jon Anik is my buddy. He never did anything to me and I never did anything to him.

“Those guy are my friends, but at the end of the day it’s competition. We’re all trying to get ratings and Bellator’s ratings are going up — we know what’s happening on the other side (UFC).”

He also noted that from his own experienced viewpoint, the UFC broadcasts have not been nearly as exciting as they could have been in his opinion.

Often criticized for sometimes head-scratching errors of his own during UFC broadcasts, Goldberg admitted he’s far from perfect, but there are still issues with the current method the UFC is delivering their on-air content to fans:

“I just want to do what I do, so do I see things that make me go, ‘Wow, that was really interesting. That was really not as exciting as it could be.’

“It’s just moments,” he explained. “It’s not anybody’s fault and don’t get me wrong, people have been saying things about me for 100 years and I’ve made my mistakes. I’d like to remind people that my blooper real is maybe 15 or 20 minutes long. I was probably on the air for two million minutes though, so that’s pretty good, right? But I do watch it and I see the difference.”

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Khabib Reveals UFC Will “100 Percent” Strip Conor McGregor’s Title

It seems the collective mixed martial arts world may be a bit burnt out on waiting for UFC lightweight champ Conor McGregor to return to the Octagon, and one of his biggest prospective foes is no different. Although a host of potentially massive UFC bouts, most namely a title unification bout with the winner of […]

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It seems the collective mixed martial arts world may be a bit burnt out on waiting for UFC lightweight champ Conor McGregor to return to the Octagon, and one of his biggest prospective foes is no different.

Although a host of potentially massive UFC bouts, most namely a title unification bout with the winner of UFC 223’s Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov, await the controversial Irishman, McGregor has largely drug his feet concerning his return since a reported $100 million payday to box Floyd Mayweather last August.

And it’s the money tied to “Money” that appears to be driving McGregor once again, as any buzz surrounding his next fight has seemed to be focused on a potential – and farcical – MMA bout with Mayweather in the UFC. That has many justifiably wondering if he’ll ever return to MMA, a sentiment Nurmagomedov echoed during a recent interview with TMZ Sports:

In the brief spot, “The Eagle” stated that McGregor’s lengthy absence from MMA dating back to November 2016

“When is Conor compete last time in MMA? I forget about this. Yeah long time. He’s boxing guy. He’s good to stay in boxing, because you have to compete in MMA, like wrestling, grappling, completion is like 25 minutes – it’s very hard to him.”

A solid point to be sure, but lest we not forget Nurmagomedov took almost two years off himself with a litany of concerning injuries that had him wondering if he would ever compete in MMA again, so while it’s a different (and perhaps more understandable) reason, layoffs happen in a sport as unpredictable as MMA.

As for McGregor, Nurmagomedov wondered when he would actually come back, doubting that he would at all:

“But when? They talk about Mayweather fight. I don’t think he gonna come back.”

If he does not, his lightweight title would obviously have to be contested between Ferguson and Khabib, although the UFC has yet to make anything official on that front. But with rumors flying that they will do just that the day before UFC 223, “The Eagle” insists he’s “100 percent” has a contract in place to fight Ferguson for the unified title:

“We gonna fight for his belt. UFC strip his belt now, we gonna fight for real belt. 100 percent. I have contract, I have contract, like real belt. What they gonna do? They have only one real belt – they have interim belt and they have real belt. They send me contract. We gonna fight with Tony Ferguson for real belt. I have contract.”

“They gonna strip this belt. I have contract for real belt. I don’t know, maybe they don’t want him upset because he make good money. maybe? I know that I’m gonna fight for the real belt because I have contract.”

The waiting game will continue on that front, but if McGregor ultimately does not return, the sport would miss out on a massive McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov fight in Russia, a bout that could realistically be the biggest fight in UFC history.

“The Eagle” isn’t too optimistic it will ever happen, however:

“Uh, I don’t know, to be honest. I don’t know.”

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Controversy Erupts Over Heather Hardy’s Bellator 194 Weigh-In

Fan favorite Heather Hardy thought she made weight earlier today for her flyweight bout against Ana Julaton at tomorrow night’s (Fri., February 16, 2018) Bellator 194 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., but controversy erupted when she found out that wasn’t the case. Hardy, a boxing champ who will return to action following a […]

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Fan favorite Heather Hardy thought she made weight earlier today for her flyweight bout against Ana Julaton at tomorrow night’s (Fri., February 16, 2018) Bellator 194 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., but controversy erupted when she found out that wasn’t the case.

Hardy, a boxing champ who will return to action following a brutal TKO loss to Kristina Williams in her last MMA bout at Bellator 185, stepped on the scales and expressed apparent relief at having made weight, at which point she exited the stage and being rehydrating for her flyweight fight.

But she was a fraction over the fight’s 126-pound limit – officially coming in at 126.25 pounds. However, despite the ability for her to remove her bikini and weigh in with the towel to most likely drop the extra quarter of a pound, she did not do so after it was announced she was overweight, as it appeared a decision had been made. Hardy most likely would have made weight if given instruction to weigh in nude, and if needed, she also would have the additional two hours to drop any excess weight, something would seem unnecessary given her original weight.

Weigh-ins continued as planned and Hardy left thinking she was fine.

It was later released that Hardy did not make weight, and 20 percent of her purse would go to Julaton. That understandably confused and angered her, but Mike Mazzulli, the president of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, the commission presiding over Bellator 194, told MMA Junkie that Hardy wouldn’t be allowed to drop any more weight, and he would cancel the match if she did:

“It was never said she was good. She got on the scale, (and) she was 126.25 … she was a quarter-pound over. At that point, I explained to her – after evaluating her and seeing how she was – that she was not going to lose anymore. The fight’s not going to happen (if she has to lose anymore) – I’ll cancel the fight. Fighter safety is the most important at Mohegan, and I make sure of it.”

Hardy predictably had a different side of the story, revealing that Mazzulli looked at her and said 126 and a man behind him even said they made an allowance for the bikini so she wouldn’t have to strip – something that was a source of the controversy:

“I did make the weight. I was two (tenths) over and they gave me the allowance for bikini top and bottom without making me strip in front of the room. (I’m) not sure about there having been a problem at all – I was backstage after the weigh-in hydrating and doing interviews for like an hour after.

“I was shocked when they called in and said they were fining me. Yes, it was a rough-ass weight cut – (it) was totally clear on my face. But (Mazzulli) looked at me and said 126. There was a guy behind him that said, ‘We make the allowance for your bikini. She isn’t stripping. We don’t need the towel.”

Mazzulli stood by his original decision, however, explaining his call  to not let Hardy strip down was due to her action on the scale and his concern for her safety:

“I evaluated her, and I felt I didn’t even want her to (remove her clothes to use the towel), because at that point she wasn’t even speaking to me (on the scale),” Mazzulli said. “I made the decision as the commissioner that I wasn’t going to put her on the scale with no clothes on – that’s how concerned I was about her. And my doctors will re-evaluate her tonight at the (ceremonial) weigh-in, as well.”

He insisted he didn’t know why Hardy thought she had been told she made weight, and attribute to her lacking the ability to speak coherently:

“I explained to her (on the scale) that she did not (make weight) – that she was over a quarter-(pound), but I was not going to allow her to lose any more weight,” Mazzulli said. “… I explained to her, ‘I’m not even going to have you remove your clothes, because at this point you can’t even speak to me coherently. That concerns me.’”

With weight cutting a big in MMA right now, Mazzulli closed by detailing where they are with the fight currently:

“Rich Chou, the matchmaker, came to me, and I automatically fined Ms. Hardy 20 percent,” Mazzulli said. “(Julaton) came in, and I explained to her that it’s your decision if you’re going to fight, but Ms. Hardy is going to get a 20 percent fine, which is $2,400. And instead of me keeping $1,000 of it, which I have the right to, I provided the $2,400 to her opponent. At that point, (Julaton) accepted it, and that’s where we are right now.”

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Michael Bisping Sounds Off On Yoel Romero Kissing Luke Rockhold

Michael Bisping thinks Yoel Romero took it a little too far after knocking out Luke Rockhold in the main event of last weekend’s UFC 221 from Australia. Following a close, carefully-fought bout from both in the opening two rounds, “The Soldier of God” exploded in the third round with a devastating left to Rockhold’s temple […]

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Michael Bisping thinks Yoel Romero took it a little too far after knocking out Luke Rockhold in the main event of last weekend’s UFC 221 from Australia.

Following a close, carefully-fought bout from both in the opening two rounds, “The Soldier of God” exploded in the third round with a devastating left to Rockhold’s temple and a follow-up uppercut that instantly flipped the former champ’s lights off.

Adding insult to injury in the eyes of some, Romero then professed his love for Rockhold and literally kissed him while he still clearly dazed. One fighter wasn’t a fan of the post-fight scene, as Michael Bisping, who, ironically enough, brutally knocked out Rockhold to win the belt back at UFC 199 in 2016, recently criticized what Romero did on his Believe You Me podcast (via MMA Mania):

“I don’t take pleasure from seeing somebody knocked out like that, I really don’t,” Bisping said on his latest Believe You Me podcast. “He got knocked out and he just looked so devastated, absolutely crushed. Then to make matters worse, Romero — the guy that just knocked him out — gets in his face, pins him up against the fence, has his arms over his shoulders like that so Rockhold literally can’t go anywhere and he’s professing his undying love for him, ‘I love you Luke, I love you.’

“There’s nothing wrong with kissing a man on the cheek,” he said. “But I just think after you’ve knocked them out cold, after you’ve taken away their dreams of being world champion, after you’ve literally inflicted a lot of violence, the marks are visible, there’s blood on his face, he’s maybe lost some brain cells and he doesn’t know what the f**k is going on — pinning the guy up against the Octagon and trying to make out with him is a little bit much.”

Despite his differences with both Rockhold and Romero, “The Count” thinks the Australian commission presiding over UFC 221 should have been more present to prevent the scene from happening, because some serious ramifications could have resulted:

”I’ve got to say, in that circumstance, and I’m not trying to knock any of the officials, but really happy Valentines Day, it’s really quite the couple they make there, I’ve got to say, they shouldn’t allow that to happen in future because you got to remember, think about it. I know when I’ve been knocked out you haven’t got a clue what’s going on. You haven’t got a jar of f**king clues where your head is at and you have to piece it back together.

”And then all of a sudden you have the guy who has just knocked you out with his arms around you, up against the Octagon sexually assaulting you, #MeToo. There’s nothing to stop Rockhold elbowing him in the face, punching him, because he might still feel the fight is going on. Who knows? I just don’t think they should allow, certainly not Romero, I mean come on, it was a little bit much.”

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Top Lightweight Reveals When He Thinks UFC Will Strip Conor McGregor

At this point, it’s safe to say the majority of the collective mixed martial arts world is growing impatient waiting for Conor McGregor’s first official title defense. The Irish megastar has been out of action since his TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather last August, and he hasn’t set foot in the Octagon since winning the […]

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At this point, it’s safe to say the majority of the collective mixed martial arts world is growing impatient waiting for Conor McGregor’s first official title defense.

The Irish megastar has been out of action since his TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather last August, and he hasn’t set foot in the Octagon since winning the UFC lightweight title against Eddie Alvarez in November 2016. He also hasn’t defended a single UFC title, getting stripped of the featherweight belt he won in December 2015 shortly after winning the 155-pound title.

But the only word we’ve even remotely heard from “The Notorious” is about a potential rematch with Mayweather in the UFC, the most lucrative but least dangerous fight he could pursue in MMA. With interim champ Tony Ferguson set to meet top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov for some form of the belt in the main event of April 7’s UFC 223, Dana White has stated the winner would ‘be the champion’ while remaining coy if the promotion would actually strip McGregor.

One top UFC lightweight contender thinks it’s coming, however. No. 5 Dustin Poirier recently told MMA Fighting that the UFC will strip McGregor at UFC 223 and the official belt will finally be on the line:

“I think they’re stripping Conor here, and they’re going to fight for the real belt.

“This sport is a crazy thing, and what happens, it’s unpredictable. But I think the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib is going to be the real, undisputed UFC lightweight champion.”

Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The sentiment among many MMA fans is that the winner at UFC 223 would be the official champion no matter what the UFC said, yet they definitely could make a huge splash by stripping McGregor the day before the fight.

As for the match-up itself, Poirier gave the advantage to the dominant Nurmagomedov after he was able to smash formerly surging Muay Thai striker Edson Barboza in his last bout:

“Just the two styles, I think Khabib’s going to pressure him and be stronger and better on top, harder to submit,” Poirier said. “I mean, if Kevin Lee can take Ferguson down, Khabib is going to do the same. And we’ll see. We’ll see [Ferguson] on his back again, we’ll see him throwing elbows and throwing submissions. It’s an interesting fight, for sure, but I think the most dangerous thing is how long it lasts on the feet.

“I know Tony’s really unpredictable, moves in weird, awkward ways, different timing. Khabib’s not as fluid of a striker, but we’ve never really seen Khabib in trouble on top, in guard. He does a lot of damage from the top position as well. So it’s an interesting fight, but I think Khabib’s going to come out ahead.”

Currently 2-0(1) in his last three fights with the no contest a highly controversial result versus Alvarez at UFC 211, Poirier has the biggest fight of his career when he meets blood-and-guts fan favorite Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC on FOX 29 on April 14, one week after UFC 223.

He’s obviously planning on beating Gaethje, and believes he’ll be deserving of a title shot in his next fight if and when he does:

“I’m on the right track,” Poirier said. “I’ve just got to keep winning, and winning solves everything. So I’m going to come out here in two months and beat Gaethje, and I feel like I might get a title shot. I feel like I should get a title shot with that win.

“Get past Gaethje and fight the winner (of UFC 223), and I think it’s going to be Khabib.”

A lot of that, of course, is going to depend on what McGregor’s next move is.

If the current champ chooses to pursue yet another farcical (but lucrative) match-up with Mayweather, then “The Diamond” could be pushed to the front of the pack with a win over “The Highlight.” If McGregor returns to face either Ferguson or Nurmagomedov, however, then the lightweight division will remain stagnant despite a list of top contenders looking – and deserving to – get their shot.

It’s a mess unlike one we’ve ever seen in modern MMA – and there’s no clear end in sight. Would the UFC create some clarity by stripping “The Notorious” at UFC 223?

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