(The Fight Night 27 post-fight press conference via the UFC’s Youtube channel.)
We’ll admit to skipping over the very first fight on yesterday’s Fight Night 27: Condit vs. Kampmann card — a lightweight scrap between Abel “Killa” Trujillo and Roger “Fuck it, Dude, Let’s Go” Bowling — in our aftermath piece this morning, but not because we missed the fight and not because we planned on using it as a prime example for another article about potential rule changes in MMA. In my eyes (and therefore all of CP’s because BG is out of town. MWAHAHAHAHA!!!), there was simply no controversy to be had.
Trujillo threw two knees. The first was legal; to the chest. The second was not; it hit Bowling square in the jaw. In fact, the second was about as blatantly illegal a strike as you could ask for. When Bowling was deemed unable to continue, we assumed he would be awarded the victory via DQ, as was the case when Luiz Cane illegally kneed James Irvin’s eyeball through the back of his skull at UFC 79. When the ref informed Trujillo that the fight would be declared a NC because the knee wasn’t “blatant,” we scratched our heads a little but knew that intention behind a foul is determined by the referee alone.
So what should have been a DQ win for Roger Bowling was now a NC. Fine. But to say that Trujillo should have not only won the fight but will be receiving a win bonus as well? Surely you’d have to be f*cking insane to utter such insanity.
Those shots were not illegal. The first one hit him in the chest, and the second hit him in the shoulder. That kid should’ve won that fight, and I’m going to pay him his win bonus.
Yup, that’s Dana White at the Fight Night 27 post-fight press conference (approximately 20 minutes into the above video), clearly high as f*ck. But here’s the thing: Dana is right.
Join us after the jump to see why.
As I said, when I first caught the fight, I would have told you within a shadow of a doubt that Trujillo’s second knee was illegal. I would have said the same after watching the replay and I was fully prepared to end this article with a facepalm photo to shame DW for making such an erroneous statement. Let’s watch said replay in gif form, shall we?
I know. STILL TOTALLY ILLEGAL, right?
Now let’s watch a slowed down version of the gif, compliments of UGer epwar:
As we can now see, Trujillo’s second knee also hits Bowling in the chest, but gradually slides up and catches him in the face on its way out. So at worst, Trujillo hit Bowling with an unintentional knee to the face that was meant for (as the ref determined) and did in fact land on Bowling’s chest. Problem is, neither of Bowling’s knees were on the ground at the moment of Trujillo’s second strike, let alone when it reached his face:
This screengrab was published in the comments section of an MMAFighting article earlier today. In it, you can CLEARLY see that both of Bowling’s knees are hovering above the canvas. Therefore, it didn’t matter where Trujillo’s shot landed, because Bowling was technically not a downed opponent.
I should inform you that I have no dog in this fight. This article, believe it or not, was originally titled “Dana White Declares Knees to the Head of a Downed Opponent Legal, Gives Abel Trujillo His Bonus Money.” I am also a staunch believer that all knees should be legal in MMA, downed opponent or otherwise. You know this. But upon looking at the evidence and taking the current rules into context, it’s hard not to agree with The Baldfather’s assessment that Trujillo got screwed here.
In any case, the ruling in this fight, which was made by referee Rob Hinds, only enforces the belief that instant replay is being shamefully underutilized in MMA. We know we’ve published articles stating the contrary before, but the basis of their arguments was that instant replay would create more questions than it would solve. Yet here we have the President of the UFC not only questioning a call that (to our knowledge) was not based on any replay, but essentially reversing it. Tell me again how instant replay would somehow add to the confusion of this scenario; I’m all ears.