Veteran UFC referee Mario Yamasaki won’t remember Sunday’s Fight Night 83 event with fondness.
Yamasaki officiated 3 fights on the bill at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Centre, but his performances in his final 2 assignments have drawn him criticism. And with good reason.
The first calamity occurred during the 142lb catch-weight contest between Team Alpha Male product Cody Garbrandt and jiu-jitsu ace Augusto Mendes.
As the clock ticked into the final minute of the first stanza, Garbrandt fired a three punch combination at a quickly retreating Mendes. The last shot of the salvo, an overhand right, dropped the Brazilian to the canvas. At that point, Yamasaki stepped between the fighters as if he was about to call a halt to proceedings. However, once he had placed himself right in Garbrandt’s way, he seemed to have a sudden change of heart. As a result, Garbrandt had to go around the referee in order to follow-up.
One more hammer-fist was enough to inspire the stoppage.
The night’s main event was a welterweight bout between divisional newcomer Donald Cerrone and fellow “Cowboy” Alex Oliveira. It officially came to a close at 2 minutes and 33 seconds of the very first round due to a Cerrone triangle choke, but it should have been a few seconds quicker.
Yamasaki must have really been enjoying the beat that the Brazilian was drumming on Cerrone’s mid-section because he failed to realize it was actually the sound of frantic tapping. It wasn’t until Cerrone highlighted Oliveira’s submission that the ref ended the contest.
This error drew the ire of UFC president Dana White, who took to Twitter in order to express both displeasure and disbelief.
10 taps before Yamasaki stops it after @Cowboycerrone tells him!!! And he was looking right at it……WOW!!!!! ????????
— Dana White (@danawhite) February 22, 2016