(Fence grab is at 10:18, the alleged illegal blow comes at 17:25. Props: MMA Share.)
Benji Radach has filed a formal appeal with the California State Athletic Commission through his agent, Ken Pavia, challenging his TKO loss to Scott Smith on the April 11 Strikeforce show in San Jose, California. We contacted Radach earlier today to get him to explain, in his own words, why he’s appealing the loss and what he hopes to accomplish. Here’s what he had to say.
CagePotato.com: If you could Benji, sum up for me the main points outlined in your appeal.
Benji Radach: There are two main points. One, in the second round I had him in a guillotine, choking the piss out of him, and I thought I was just going to choke him unconscious. But he grabbed the fence and used it to pull us into a scramble and get out of the choke, which is illegal.
Number two, when I got hit with the big shot in the third and I hit the mat I was recovering and I was aware. I turned to the side to put my hand out and get up and he hit me with an illegal blow on the back of the head. That’s when the referee stopped the fight.
Let’s start with the fence-grabbing. That’s something that seems to have different consequences depending on the referee and the situation. Sometimes the ref just yells at the guy to let go and sometimes it’s a point deduction. Are you saying that you think something else should have been done about that during the fight?
Well, he did it when he was in the guillotine. Whenever someone grabs the fence to avoid a submission that’s an automatic point deduction.
Right, but since the fight didn’t go to a decision you could argue that a point deduction, even if Herb Dean had stepped in right then, wouldn’t have had a big impact on the outcome.
Yeah, the main point is the illegal shot to the back of the head.
The punch that he knocked you down with looked like a hard shot. Were you hurt at the time? Do you remember everything that happened right then?
I didn’t see the punch hit me. I was throwing a left hook and he hit me with a straight right, so I didn’t see it. It was a hard shot. I knew I was hurt. I didn’t want to be like one of those guys who gets up in the interview afterwards and says, ‘He didn’t hurt me at all,’ and then when they show the replay he looks stupid because he was obviously hurt. I didn’t want to embarrass myself or anything. But when I got a chance to go back and look at the replay and really see what had happened, I was disappointed with that stoppage.
It seems like it takes so much to get the result of a fight changed after the fact. Do you really think the commission might overturn this? It seems like that rarely happens.
I actually had one overturned in my first fight in the UFC against Steve Berger. I was on top of him punching him in the head and I had one hand on the cage as I was punching him, just hitting him so hard I thought I was going to break my hand. Finally the referee stopped it, and afterwards the state athletic commission overturned it because they said I was using the cage for leverage as I was hitting him. It got changed to a no contest.
Is that what you’re hoping to accomplish here? Get this changed to a no contest and then, what, a rematch?
Yeah, if I could get a no contest and get another fight with him, that’s what I’d want. I’m not taking anything away from him, but the ref should have allowed me to defend myself and he didn’t.
Are you at all concerned about the fan reaction to your appeal? People are going to say, ‘he’s just upset because he lost.’ Does that bother you?
You know, I don’t know. I just think it was a bad stoppage and I don’t want that on my record.