(“What is…a donkey punch?”)
Joe Rogan has never been one to hide his opinions. Whether it’s an early stoppage, a late stoppage, or a botched judges’ decision, many UFC fights have ended with Rogan passionately expressing his disagreement. But at UFC 142 earlier this month, Rogan went even further and corralled veteran referee Mario Yamasaki for an unscheduled post-fight interview, asking Yamasaki to justify his disqualification of Erick Silva for shots to the back of the head. It was an uncomfortable moment, but as Rogan explained, he felt it was his duty to ask the questions that the viewers might have.
One notable fighter has come forward to defend Yamasaki — Carlo Prater, the guy who actually took the alleged illegal shots from Silva that night. As Prater sees it, his perspective and Yamasaki’s perspective hold a lot more weight than Joe Rogan’s, who’s just a “swagger,” in his opinion. (Continue reading for a definition of “swagger” as used in this context. It might not be what you think.) Here’s what Prater told SportTV.com in a new interview:
“I felt very strong blows in the region of my neck and my right shoulder. I felt very painful shocks. I was trying to overthrow Erick on the floor, out of instinct, but I could not because it was the worst physical pain I’ve ever had in my entire life. I think in the end I was made out as a villain. I had to stay in the hospital until Monday. They asked me not to go public because, indeed, that wouldn’t do any good for me or Erick. In my opinion, Mario did the right thing. You are not allowed to do anything you want inside the cage. Watching the fight video, I could see at least nine blows to the back of the head.”
“I think the way Joe Rogan behaved was completely unethical. He went with the crowd. A real professional doesn’t do that. He was acting like a fan when he should be acting as a commentator. Mario is a million times more competent than him. He’s been living off this for 20 years. Joe Rogan is just a swagger, someone who walks amongst fighters but isn’t really a fighter himself. He doesn’t understand. Whatever, human beings make mistakes and I am not going to be holding grudges against him.”
Was it a controversial moment? Absolutely, especially when you consider all the UFC fights that have ended with shots to the back of the head that weren’t called disqualifications. But it’s nice to get the other guy’s perspective once in a while. Even one illegal blow should call a fight’s result into question.