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Click Debate: What’s the delicate balance between an early and late MMA stoppage?

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Fighter safety is of the utmost importance. Saving fighters, most of whom are too tough for their own good, from themselves is one of the primary functions of a referee.

Jason Herzog thinks about that every time he steps into a cage. He also thinks about other things, like the responsibility he has to give an athlete a fighting chance.

“Did I give whomever every chance to fight?” Herzog said. … “That’s their livelihood. That’s their record. At a lower level, that’s their chance to get into Bellator or UFC. ‘I lost this fight, now I can’t get into UFC or I can’t get into Bellator.’ Or they’re in one of the big organizations and this was their shot for a title. They don’t put an asterisk on that later on and say ‘ref stopped it early.’ They just say loss. And [the fighters] say, ‘I have half the money I would have made, because you screwed up.'”

When to stop a fight is an incredibly inexact science. The language of the official rule says that a bout should continue unless one of the fighters stops “intelligently” defending himself or herself. That is not always apparent to the viewer watching at home or from the crowd, at least not as apparent as it is for the referee a few feet away.

Last week, two stoppages on competing cards came under scrutiny. Many said Cris Cyborg’s finish of Leslie Smith at UFC 198 in Brazil was too early. The finish of another Cyborg — Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos — by Saad Awad at Bellator 154 in San Jose was pegged as too late.

Herzog was the referee for the Awad-Santos fight. And his decision to let Santos take dozens of unanswered blows to the face centers around that “intelligent defense” rule. In Herzog’s interpretation, Santos was following ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting