Controversy reared its ugly head this past weekend at UFC Fight Night Belem during a women’s flyweight division fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Priscila Cachoeira.
Referee Mario Yamasaki has come under extreme criticism for his perceived lack of officiating skills as Shevchenko was apparently mauling Cachoeira to death. UFC executive David Shaw says the promotion is going to work alongside the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) to make sure no Yamasaki-like situations happen again.
“We’ll be working with the commission to make sure a situation like that doesn’t happen again,” Shaw said after the event. “First and foremost, Priscila’s health is the No. 1 priority. We’ve got a team with her at the hospital, and we’ll be taking very good care of her to make sure she recovers quickly.”
While a lot of the attention has been focused on Yamasaki’s alleged awful officiating, one thing Shaw wants people to know is that Valentina still did amazing in that fight.
“She obviously put on a masterful performance tonight,” Shaw said.
In a statement to MMA Fighting, Yamasaki defended his actions.
During the second round, I signaled to ‘Pedrita’ that if she didn’t move I’d stop the fight, and every time I’d stop, I told her and she moved to try to escape from the punches. Unfortunately, I also can’t control the number of blows thrown -- again, when a fighter is trying to come back she’s game.
Fighters go through times of hard effort and dedication to be there. MMA is a contact sport and no fighter likes his fight to be stopped with no chance to revert the result. In my opinion, I allowed Pedrita to be a warrior and keep fighting. I could have stopped the fight in the second crucifix or in the mount, but she moved the whole time.
I also recognize that I should have stopped when she tapped the first time to the rear-naked choke. I only stopped a few seconds later.
About other people’s opinions, it’s their right to say.
There has been no word yet from the CABMMA as to whether or not Yamasaki will receive any punishment for the alleged terrible officiating.