(Sorry, Al-Turk. Cro Cop doesn’t do injury timeouts. Photo courtesy of UFC.com)
Mostapha Al-Turk apparently doesn’t agree with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s assertion that the inadvertent eye-poke in the first round of their UFC 99 bout had no effect on the outcome, because he plans to appeal that ugly (for several reasons) loss, according to his agent, Ken Pavia:
"We are going to appeal that, we don’t think its right that it should be a TKO. The referee should have got onto the eye poke," said Al-Turk’s agent Ken Pavia. "Look at Henderson v Franklin at UFC 93 in Dublin. Franklin got a timeout when he got eye-poked. …With the fight taking place in Germany we aren’t sure what the protocol is, but we will put our appeal in writing and see what we can do."
Thing is, no one is really sure what the protocol for an appeal of a UFC result in Germany is, because there isn’t one. In the absence of an athletic commission, as is the case with UK events, the UFC oversees these things themselves. That means an appeal could conceivably be decided by the UFC brass, and they aren’t too happy with Cro Cop at the moment. You know what they say, the best revenge is changing someone’s win to a ‘No Contest.’
So did the eye-poke really make the difference in the fight? Probably not. Cro Cop was having no problem exploiting the enormous holes in Al-Turk’s stand-up game prior to getting knuckle deep into his eye, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a foul. The fight should have been halted to give Al-Turk time to recover. But, as happens with eye pokes from time to time, referee Dan Miragliotta didn’t catch it (and neither did we until they showed the replay) and the fight went on for another painful few seconds.
Sure, you could argue that Al-Turk’s reaction should have clued Miragliotta in to the inadvertent foul. It’s not often that you see a guy turn his back on his opponent in the middle of a fight and cover his face like a fourteen-year-old girl who’s just been dumped for the first time. Then again, much of Al-Turk’s performance up to that point seemed a little off. He never looked like he belonged in there with Cro Cop, so it wouldn’t be so difficult to believe that a punch had made him crumble up and quit.
We’ve seen in the past that eye-poke appeals aren’t guaranteed any degree of success, but here’s a good test of the UFC’s ability to police itself without oversight from a traditional athletic commission. Will they give this appeal a day in some form of a court, or will they just make it go away? And if they do deal with it, can they justifiably screw Cro Cop out of a win the way he screwed them out of a contract, or would that just seem too vindictive at this point?
Related: Cro Cop now says that his rumored departure from the UFC and signing with Dream is "a business secret," and he doesn’t want to talk about it. That’s not exactly a denial, is it?