Referee Marc Goddard has issued an apology to Daniel Cormier for missing the eye poke from Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 252.
Daniel Cormier ended his mixed martial arts career with consecutive defeats in his heavyweight trilogy with Stipe Miocic but it wasn’t without its controversy.
Towards the end of the third round, Cormier was left wincing after a clear eye poke from the defending champion but the referee instructed the fighters to continue.
What a fight 🔥
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) August 16, 2020
Believing it was a punch, Goddard allowed the action to carry on but the poke took its toll on Cormier, whose left eye swelled up and left the former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion unable to see.
After falling to a unanimous decision defeat, Cormier told ESPN: “I just can’t see out of my left eye, it is what it is.
“It sucks, being on the losing end of two fights in trilogies is a very sad position to be in but I will deal with it as I’ve dealt with it in the past.
"I'm not interested in fighting for anything but titles and I don't imagine there's gonna be a title in the future …"
—Daniel Cormier on if he's ready to call it a career pic.twitter.com/ASL9yFv6sQ
— ESPN (@espn) August 16, 2020
“I can’t see anything out of my left eye, it’s black but it is what it is. I told Marc but he said he thought it was a punch but after he said he’d seen it on the replay.”
Goddard has now apologised for his call in the third round, admitting that he spoke to Cormier’s team after the fight and expressed his regret.
— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) August 16, 2020
Via a statement on social media, the British official said: “I practice what I preach & as a man I stand tall & head on. If you accept plaudits then you must with mistakes too, that’s proof that you are listening, honest & implore improvement. Rough with the smooth, acceptance & ownership.
“Immediately after the fight when seeing the replay I apologised to Daniel Cormier & his team & I do so publicly & unreservedly for missing what I shouldn’t have – but I cannot call what I do not see.
“I don’t have replays & multiple angles, it’s a one shot take in real time. I cannot convey just how much I have both lived and loved this sport for the past 20 years. I truly appreciate all who understand.”