Longtime MMA referee Mario Yamasaki officiated the UFC Fight Night 105 main event, where Derrick Lewis earned a knockout victory over Travis Browne.
While the fight was a classic slugfest, Yamasaki was criticized for the late stoppage in the fight. The veteran ref has now taken the opportunity to explain his controversial actions.
"Right in the moment, I already knew that I allowed two extra punches,” Yamasaki told MMA Fighting, "but the reaction time from a heavyweight is different than a lighter fighter. So when (Lewis) landed the punch where (Browne) went out, he was able to land two more before I came in to stop the fight. But, for sure, I should have stopped it a little earlier. Everyone has his days, and I can’t give excuses."
Yamasaki has been a referee in mixed martial arts for a long time now, he has been a part of UFC events even before Dana White was a part of the company. Being a veteran referee has given Yamasaki a lot of experience and he knows that he cannot please everybody who competes or watches the fights.
"It’s hard to please everyone,” Yamasaki said. "I try to be as consistent as possible, but sometimes you can’t. I wanted to give him another chance because early in the fight he was getting knocked out standing and he said ‘I'm fine, I’m fine,’ and I saw that he was trying to defend himself so I let him continue, and on the ground, it went a little longer. I’m sure that Browne likes that we let the fight go on a little longer so he has a chance to come back,” he continued. "No fighter likes early stoppages, but it happens. There’s no excuse. I know I should have stopped it earlier, but it was so fast I couldn't stop it."
Outside of being a referee, Yamasaki is a 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a 10th degree black belt in Judo.