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Dana White Absolutely Lays Into Referee Yamasaki Over Controversial Finish To Lee Vs Chiesa

The UFC Fight Night 112 card in Oklahoma City on Sunday night came to a controversial end, as veteran referee Mario Yamasaki halted the main event between top lightweights Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa prematurely.

This wasn’t your normal defensible premature stoppage either, with a fighter moving on the ground but still defending neath a barrage of leather or a fighter under pressure against the fence, eating some big shots but moving his/her head in an attempt to evade.

The fight was an interesting one while it lasted. On the feet, Chiesa landed one solid left hand before tripping Lee to the floor. During an ensuing scramble, Chiesa grabbed a guillotine but was subsequently scooped up and dumped to the mat. The slam left Lee in a somewhat precarious position initially, however. Chiesa worked for multiple submissions, first grabbing an arm and then switching for a knee. But Lee was able to defend and when Chiesa worked for a arm-bar moments later, Lee was able to move around, take his opponent’s back and lock on a body-triangle.

Over the next ninety seconds or so, Lee landed thumping strikes to Chiesa’s head and worked frequently for the rear-naked choke. With about thirty seconds remaining in the opening round, Lee finally locked in the choke. Lee’s arm was under Chiesa’s chin and it looked like a rough situation for ‘Maverick’, one which bordered on inevitable defeat, but the fighter himself did not tap out. For some reason though, perhaps sensing that Chiesa was on the verge of unconsciousness, Yamasaki intervened and stopped the fight.

Chiesa was furious in the immediate aftermath of the stoppage, but he had calmed down somewhat by the time he spoke to commentator and post-fight interviewer Jon Anik moments later.

“I was just trying to gut it out, elbow down, scramble out. I am not going to say any choice things about officiating,” said Chiesa, choosing to go the classy route. “Kevin, I will see you in December in Detroit for the rematch.”

While Chiesa wasn’t willing to offer any “choice” words about Yamasaki or his officiating, Dana White was more than willing. The always outspoken and often cutting UFC president took to social media after the fight and berated Yamasaki for his performance, not only in this fight but in general. He also took a little shot at another referee who has often been involved in controversy, Steve Mazzagatti, in the process.

“Mario Mazzagatti does it again!!! This guy is more concerned with doing this dumb ass heart bullshit then Ref’n the fight!!! Steals a great moment from Lee or let Mike fight it or tap,” wrote White on Instagram. “Nobody gives a shit that u can make a heart with ur hands like a 12 year old girl they want u to pay attention to what’s going on in the fight and do ur job.”

White wasn’t the only one to express dissatisfaction with Yamasaki’s decision.

The unsatisfying conclusion might have taken away some of it’s lustre, but this is still a big win for Kevin Lee. Coming into the fight, ‘The Motown Phenom’ was ranked eleventh in the lightweight division, with Chiesa sitting five places above him in sixth. After scoring his fifth straight win and snapping Chiesa’s three-fight winning-streak, Lee is certain to move deep into the top ten when the rankings are reshuffled during the week.

Update: New Footage Shows Ref Was 100% Right To Stop Controversial Chiesa Vs Lee Bout

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.