Yair Rodriguez has spoken about the divisive end to his UFC Mexico City showdown with Jeremy Stephens and the subsequent ‘no-contest’ the bout was declared as.
You do have to feel for Yair to a certain extent.
Though brash in his immediate reaction to the unfortunate stoppage, Rodriguez had just lost out on his first opportunity to truly blossom as a star in his home-country of Mexico.
The event, which took place in the national capital, was one that had Yair as its flagship star and by the sounds of things in the arena as he made his walk, the scene was set for him to make a real statement before things went south.
It became apparent a few moments after the fight being paused that Jeremy was completely unable to open his eye as a result of Rodriguez’s poke and as a result, the fight was called there and then – leaving the official result as a no-contest after a period of fifteen seconds in the opening round.
Watch the incident below and see for yourself.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 22, 2019
A hugely disappointed Yair Rodriguez spoke to Michael Bisping as Stephens left the octagon under fire from those in attendance as they threw objects at him.
Clearly shocked and disappointed on what should have been a very special night, Rodriguez made his feelings known to those in attendance.
Yair then spoke to the ESPN desk and expressed his disappointment further, questioning the legitimacy of Stephen’s injury – despite in-octagon doctors making it clear that his eye was spasming directly after the poke.
“I’m just going to give the benefit of the doubt to Jeremy Stephens. The only one who has to live with the doubt in the mind is him, only him. He’s the only one who knows how it feels.
“I’ve never been poked in the eye in a fight. But I have had a really bad eye. In the Frankie Edgar fight my eye was completely close, I couldn’t see nothing, but I was willing to keep on going.
“But not everybody’s the same, I don’t know what he was feeling. So the complete benefit of the doubt to Jeremy Stephens. Let’s see what happens. It’s sad.
“I’m sorry about what happened. It wasn’t my intention to poke his eye. Again, all the benefit of the doubt to Jeremy Stephens.