Michael Chiesa says Mario Yamasaki stopped his fight because he was almost unconscious.
The main event of UFC Fight Night: Oklahoma City ended in controversy. Kevin Lee had a rear naked choke on Michael Chiesa and the referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight. Chiesa did not tap and seemed conscious because he was immediately standing and contesting the decision. In a post fight interview, he said he felt robbed of a big moment.
"I just really feel robbed. This is my first main event slot I've been waiting for my whole career. Here I am in a very heated main event with a lot of hype, a lot of eyes on it. To have the opportunity taken away from myself and Kevin... I wasn't in danger. I was totally fine. I've fought the best grapplers in my weight class. I fought Jim Miller. I fought Joe Lauzon, I fought Beneil Dariush. They've all had my back. They've all had me in bad situations and every single time it was in the first round and I fought out," said Chiesa.
Chiesa broke down the exchange that led to him "deciding" to give up his back and said he was waiting for Lee's arms to tire. Chiesa explained he was aware of the exact position he was in and how much time was left on the clock, and said when the fight was ended, the referee told him why.
"How is (Yamasaki) going to stop the fight when the first thing he does: I say 'What are you doing?' and he goes 'you were about to go out?' I go 'Ok, if I'm about to go out, then why don't you let me tap or why don't you let me go to sleep?'" said Chiesa.
He said referees should not "officiate in the grey" and compared it to someone losing who was almost knocked out. At the end of the interview, he asked for a rematch with Lee. Fightful MMA provided live results of the fight card and a recapping podcast.
The video of his interview with UFC can be found on UFC's YouTube channel.