UFC president Dana White reacts to the controversy during the co-main event fight at UFC 210.
Prior to UFC 210, the last professional mixed martial arts event in Buffalo, New York was at UFC 7 in September 1995. Since the state banned MMA from 1997 until 2016, the New York State Athletic Commission was rightfully unable to adapt to the regulations upheld throughout the other parts of the US where the sport is legal.
The NYSAC’s inexperience was evident during the co-main event fight between Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi, which ended in a controversy. In the second round, Mousasi kneed Weidman twice in the head, but since Weidman’s hands were down, referee Dan Miragliotta put the fight to a pause after perceiving the strikes to be illegal.
It was eventually proven that Mousasi’s strikes were legal, but ringside doctors called a stop to the fight after deeming Weidman unable to continue.
UFC president Dana White did recognize the costly error on the part of the NYSAC, the referee, and the fighters, as well.
“Here’s the thing, with the New York State Athletic Commission, it’s like we’re in 2001 again,” White said during the post-fight presser. “These guys haven’t done big mixed martial arts fights. These guys have to get some experience.”
“And as a fighter, I say it all the time. You have to be on your toes, and you gotta be ready to go. Many times even in great states like Nevada, you’re battling the referee and the judges. You have to fight to win, fight to finish.”
Despite the controversy, White still lauded the city of Buffalo for a sell-out event, and defended the NYSAC whom he believes still has to learn the ropes of the business.
“The New York State Athletic Commission has been great. Bad situations happen sometimes, and these guys are still learning,” White said. “Obviously, these guys are gonna get a lot of small organizations come in, and their refs, their doctors, their commission will all get more work, and will get more comfortable with the sport of mixed martial arts.”
For his part, Weidman is looking to appeal his loss to Mousasi, and hopes to be granted an immediate rematch.