(The illegal knee that never was.)
Remember the Strikeforce Challengers event back in May where the main event bout between Billy Evangelista and Mike Aina ended in a controversial disqualification? Sure you do, it was the one where Evangelista landed what appeared to be an illegal knee to the head of a downed Aina, though replays later proved it to be a totally legal knee to the shoulder. Aina played up the injury until he was ruled unable to continue and the bout ended with Evangelista’s disqualification, thus making the case for the exact type of instant replay use that the NSAC just approved. But even without the use of replay, the California State Athletic Commission actually did the right thing in yesterday’s appeal hearing, voting unanimously to change the outcome of the bout to a ‘no decision’ and removing the only loss from Evangelista’s record.
What’s interesting is that the commission didn’t actually view the blow in question on video, but instead relied on photo evidence and testimony from Evangelista, referee Herb Dean, and CSAC Executive Officer Bill Douglas. Not that those guys aren’t credible, but didn’t someone at least have a laptop handy?
Regardless, everyone seemed to agree that it was a legal blow, and though they couldn’t bring themselves to rule the bout a TKO victory for Evangelista at least they kept him from taking an unjust loss. That the CSAC not only resisted an opportunity to fuck something up, but instead actually made things right, that’s cause enough for celebration if only because of how rare it is — kind of like seeing a bald eagle. The pure majesty of it stops you in your tracks.