I have to say this for AOL Fanhouse’s Michael David Smith, when he sinks his teeth into something he doesn’t let go until he gets what he wants. While the rest of us have been stuck on this Seth Petruzelli situation, he was focused on a different aspect of Saturday’s EliteXC event. Seems that the odd stand-up in the Andrei Arlovski-Roy Nelson bout (see above, the stand-up comes at around the 4:27 mark) bothered Smith. So he kept after referee Jorge Ortiz until he got an answer:
“When I’m working a fight, they’re told in the locker room before the fight to keep working, continue the action moving,” Ortiz said. “Nelson did attempt the kimura. When he lost the kimura, at that point they had spent a good part of the round on the ground and I felt there wasn’t a reasonable attempt at a submission, at a finish. At that point I decided: Let’s get them up. Let’s see if he can improve the position, because in my opinion there wasn’t a reasonable attempt at finishing the fight.”
“In my opinion he wasn’t active enough,” Ortiz said. “I thought he needed to be more aggressive on the ground to attempt to finish the fight, and when I feel the action is at a point where it’s stale and it’s not going anywhere, at that point is where I decide to change it up and get something going here.”
Of course, what he “got going” was a stand-up fight that was most definitely more in Arlovski’s favor than Nelson’s. That’s not to say that Nelson would have won without the stand-up, but he had achieved a dominant position on the mat with plenty of time left in the round.
“Big Country”, as you might imagine, was also none too pleased with the stand-up when I called him earlier this week to ask what he was thinking when Ortiz brought the fighters back to their feet.
“I was thinking, this ref’s an idiot. I was trying to figure out what he was trying to say. He said to me, ‘Improve your position.’ And I was thinking, I have a position. A good position. …When he stood us up, I felt then like I was fighting two people.”
Nelson went on to describe the experience of fighting on the EliteXC card as “a three-ring circus” and concluded that he “learned a lot about the fight business” that week. Nelson was also bothered by the TKO stoppage later in the fight, remarking that if the ref was going to force a stand-up to impede his game plan on the ground, he at least wanted the benefit of the doubt when it came to the stoppage.
“I knew it looked bad, but I never went out. I just thought, if this ref’s going to give Andrei a mulligan on the ground, at least let me keep fighting. If I’m going to lose, I want Andrei to really have to beat the crap out of me. I was never mad at Andrei. I was just mad at the ref.”
Ortiz told AOL’s Smith that his background is in karate, but said he appreciates the ground game and was merely trying to keep the action going. That’s understandable, and his logic seems reasonable. But it’s one thing to stand up a guy who’s languishing in half-guard, and another to stand him up when he’s in side control, working for a kimura and throwing knees to the body.