Controversy ensued in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Oklahoma City as Michael Chiesa was submitted by rear naked choke by Kevin Lee.
The only problem from Chiesa’s perspective is that the fighter never tapped or went out cold from the choke, it was referee Mario Yamasaki who stopped the fight.
Chiesa filed an appeal with the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission (OSAC) to get his loss to Lee overturned to a no contest.
In her letter to the OSAC, the fighter wrote the following about the loss and the errant officiating skills of Yamasaki:
“While I understand that mixed martial arts referees have a very difficult job, licensed combatants like me enter into combative contests with the understanding that referees will follow highest standard of conduct. Mario Yamasaki, the referee in this contest, has a long history of failing to meet the standards officials are held to. For example, at UFC 142, Mr. Yamasaki improperly disqualified Erick Silva in a contest against Carlo Prater. Recently, at UFC Fight Night 105, Mr. Yamasaki publically (sic) said he had ‘no excuses’ for his late stoppage in the main event bout between Travis Browne and Derrick Lewis.
“In my fight with Kevin Lee, Mr. Yamasaki made multiple failures, oversights, and errors in officiating that ultimately led to this unfortunate circumstance. To be clear – I did not tap, I did not verbally submit, I was not knocked unconscious, and at no point did I go unconscious. At all times, I used my years of experience and training to intelligently defend myself. The first such failure to properly implement the rules occurred when Mr. Yamasaki did not warn, penalize, or otherwise follow professional guidelines when Kevin Lee landed numerous illegal downward elbows while I was backmounted at 3:46 of the first round [see in a replay of the fight that his elbow goes directly north to south (foul pursuant to Oklahoma Administrative Code 92:10-11-7:a9)]. These illegal strikes cut my head open, and I required 4 stitches after the fight was over.”
OSAC administrator Joe Miller has promised that the commission will look into the situation:
“I will review video of fight then present video to full commission if warranted. If commission sees merit in the appeal, a hearing will be conducted.”
There is no timetable for how long the process will take, but Fightful is going to provide the results of the appeal when they become available.