Tonya Evinger was a heavy favorite heading into her bantamweight title defense against Yana Kunitskaya, but an arm bar applied by Kunitskaya lead to a new champion being crowned at Invicta FC 20.
For those who didn’t see the broadcast, which aired on UFC Fight Pass, Evinger had a foot on the face on Kunitskaya while trying to escape the arm bar, but referee Mike England told Evinger that the move was illegal. Evinger repositioned herself to escape the arm bar and was forced to tap out a few moments late.
Evinger, who said the ref’s bad call lead to the submission, issued the following statement on her Twitter.
“I can't even explain what happened but if you know anything about MMA, I was not doing anything illegal. I was forced to reposition and she was able to take advantage of that. It's truly one of the most devastating losses of mine, I cant' believe that it happened. I'm not blaming the ref by any means, but the outcome was due to that poor call. We are definitely gonna protest that call and see what can be done to get a rematch immediately. All I can say is thanks to everyone that was there to support and apologize for wasting everyone's time.”
A fan on Twitter also reached out to longtime MMA referee “Big” John McCarthy to seek his opinion on the matter, here is what McCarthy said on his Twitter:
Neither Kunitskaya, Invicta FC officials or the Missouri State Athletic Commission (MSAC) have issued any statement on the situation.