Rodriguez appeals loss over ref’s low-blow ruling

MMA

UFC light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez is appealing his loss last Saturday to Ed Herman, saying he was penalized for a low blow that never occurred.

Herman defeated Rodriguez by third-round submission at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. Rodriguez’s team filed an appeal Friday with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, asking for the bout to be overturned to at least a no-contest, according to Rodriguez’s manager Tyson Chartier of Top Game Management.

In the second round, Rodriguez landed a hard knee to Herman’s body in a clinch up against the cage. Herman immediately dropped, and Rodriguez was preparing to follow up with punches in an effort to finish the fight.

Instead, referee Chris Tognoni stepped in and called a pause to the action. Tognoni thought Rodriguez landed his knee below Herman’s belt line, which would be a foul, and went through the procedures of a low blow. He allowed Herman five minutes to recover.

Herman continued on in the fight and won it a round later.

Rodriguez’s cornermen were yelling for Tognoni to consult a replay, but Tognoni declined, shouting to the corner, “Enough!”

Rodriguez’s team contends the referee and commission officials could have — and should have — looked at a replay and that it would have determined that Rodriguez’s knee was legal and that he was on the verge of winning by TKO.

While the Unified Rules of MMA state that replays can only be used in fight-ending sequences, which this one was not, Nevada regulations state that a replay can be used “any time” during a bout.

“The referee may, at any time during a contest or exhibition, call a time-out to consult with officials of the Commission or to view replay footage,” the regulation states.

However, while it is written, there is no real precedent for the use of replay in MMA in the state. And there is no written procedure as to how or when it should be used.

UFC president Dana White was outraged by Tognoni’s call in the post-fight news conference, calling it “the most disgusting thing that I’ve ever seen.” White and the UFC paid Rodriguez his win bonus for the fight, even though he technically lost.

“Listen, if the referee is that stupid that he didn’t see that wasn’t a low blow, Ed Herman’s job is to get in there and win a fight, and he did what he had to do,” White said. “It’s one of the most disgusting, bad calls that I’ve ever seen in my life. [Rodriguez] finished Ed Herman tonight and then loses the fight.”

Also of note in the appeal, Rodriguez’s team says in the finishing sequence — a Herman submission via kimura — Herman illegally had his toes in the fence to sweep into top position and gain more leverage for the hold.

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