The California State Athletic Commission’s May 16th meeting will include a review and decision on whether or not Josh Thomson’s KO loss to Patricky Freire will be a no-contest.
The makeshift Bellator 172 main event in February saw lightweight contender Patricky Freire become only the second man to finish Josh Thomson. “Pitbull” drilled the former Strikeforce champion with a fight-ending uppercut before slamming home two hammerfists for the second-round KO victory.
That result has been challenged by Thomson, who filed an appeal with the California State Athletic Commission just one week after the fight. Thomson cited a clash of heads in the knockdown preceding the actual KO. The CSAC has Thomson’s appeal on its agenda for the next commission meeting, which is on Tuesday, May 16th.
“Big” John McCarthy, who oversaw the contest, recently explained to MMAjunkie what transpired that evening.
“I see Patricky go after Josh, Josh gets knocked down, I see his hand go back to brace his fall, he gets himself back up, starts swinging, and gets hit with an uppercut, and it knocks him out,” McCarthy said. “And in that situation, I was not sure. Was Josh hurt by what seemed to be a clash of heads, or was that a punch?
“I went to one of my judges and said, ‘Did you see if that was a head-butt or a punch?’ And he said, ‘It was a punch.’ And he gave me the wrong information, because if you go back and watch, that first knockdown was a head-butt. So Josh is going to contest that fight based on, ‘I got hurt by a head-butt.’”
Replays showed that there was indeed an accidental clash of heads. After Thomson fell, he threw an upkick, then Pitbull let Thomson get back up to his feet, and the 100% legal KO happened shortly thereafter.
One notable instance of a knockout being overturned to a no-contest was a 2011 UFC bout between Robbie Peralta and Mackens Semerzier. In the final round, an inadvertent headbutt dropped Semerzier, and Peralta pounced with strikes for the TKO. It looked like the knockdown was from a punch, but replays showed otherwise. Coincidentally, the fight was staged in California and officiated by McCarthy.
In more recent cases, the Nevada Athletic Commission did not overturn Urijah Faber’s 2014 submission win over Francisco Rivera to a no-contest, even though an eye poke clearly set off the chain of events that led to the finish. Scott Jorgensen was felled by an accidental headbutt against Jussier Formiga in the same year, with Formiga eventually winning by submission, but Jorgensen’s appeal was denied by Brazil’s commission.
If the result is overturned, it would be the second no-contest of Thomson’s career, with his first one coming way back in 2001, when an accidental groin kick rendered Kid Yamamoto unable to continue. Pitbull has never had a no-contest, so a result change would definitely hurt given the magnitude of this victory.
While Thomson does not have a fight booked, Freire is set to rematch Derek Campos in the Bellator 181 main event on Friday, July 14th.