stanley kubrick movie tattoos
20 Absolutely Insane Tattoos Inspired by Stanley Kubrick Movies

Kongo vs. Buentello Turned Out to Be a Study in MMA Officiating Issues


(Something about landing a knee to the body of a downed opponent only whets Kongo’s appetite for some shots to the head. Photo courtesy of UFC.com)

When it comes to highlighting some of MMA’s officiating gray areas, last night’s Cheick Kongo-Paul Buentello bout at ‘UFC Live’ was a fight that very nearly had it all. From minor infractions like grabbing the fence or hitting the back of the head, to big ones like illegal knees and impromptu injury timeouts, it was a showcase of things that need to change – or at least be clarified – in the MMA rulebook. Let’s take it one issue at a time, shall we?

(If you’d like to follow along and don’t have this bad boy DVR’d, you might try looking here.)

Round 1, 3:37: Buentello gets a little help from the fence

Yeah, it’s minor, but it’s illegal. In attempting to get up from a takedown, Buentello grips the fence and pulls himself up. This earns him a verbal warning from referee Herb Dean, but it serves its purpose. He’s off his butt and en route to standing up. Just goes to show you that sometimes a fence grab will cost you a point, and other times it just gets you admonished by the ref. Same with grabbing the shorts, which also happens several times throughout this fight.

Round 1, 1:48: Buentello has a finger problem


Now this, this isn’t minor at all. Buentello stops a takedown attempt from Kongo and fires off a right uppercut in response. Then he immediately stops fighting and starts fussing with his pinky finger, prompting Dean to give the universal timeout signal. Since he’s stopping the fight due to an injury suffered during the course of normal, legal fighting, it should be over right there. You don’t get to call time just because you hurt yourself. Ask anyone who’s lost a fight because their trick shoulder popped out. You get hurt and stop fighting, prompting the referee to intervene on your behalf, and the fight’s over. That’s the rule, and it needs to be enforced across the board, or else altered.

Round 2, 4:13: Kongo struggles to understand where the back of the head is

After one of many takedowns, Kongo unleashes a series of blows against a turtled up Buentello. Not surprisingly, several find their way to the back of Buentello’s head. So Dean tells him to cut it out, only to have Kongo do it again pretty much immediately. He gets two warnings. How many before there’s some punitive action taken against him for the foul? We don’t know. It varies according to the fight, the situation, and the ref. This seems like a bit of a problem.

Round 2, 3:40: Kongo gets warned for downward elbow strikes to the ass

Want to piss Joe Rogan right off? Then get him going on the 12-to-6 elbow strike rule. Look, it’s stupid, it’s useless, and it does nothing to protect anybody. As we saw in the Jon Jones-Matt Hamill fight, it’s a nuisance. This time Kongo gets off with a warning and a pause in the action. One wonders what would have happened if Buentello had been unable to continue due to ass trauma.

Round 2, 3:23: Kongo feeds a downed Buentello a hard knee to the grill

This is the only foul in the fight that actually results in a punishment. Kongo goes from kneeing Buentello in the body, to kneeing his head while his knee and hand are down, resulting in a point deduction.

But here’s the thing, Buentello has been fouled by an illegal blow to the head, but he doesn’t get five minutes to recover, like he would if he’d been jacked in the testicles. It’s a foul, but he’s basically goaded into continuing right away, or else opting to take a win via DQ and earn himself a boo parade from the fans, not to mention the ire of the UFC brass. Those are rough options for the guy who was the victim of someone else’s decision to cheat.

Round 2, 1:43: Buentello gets accused of “playing the game”

For the second time in one round, Buentello is hit by what are, technically speaking, illegal knees to the head. While in a front headlock, he puts one hand down on the mat, making him a downed opponent as far as the rulebook is concerned. He then eats at least three knees to the head. That’s when Dean stops the fight, but not to punish Kongo. Instead he tells Buentello that it’s his fault for “playing the game.”

By this he presumably means using the rules to his advantage. Granted, putting a couple fingers on the mat in no way makes knees to the head more dangerous and that rule should probably be abolished, but at the moment it’s still on the books. Dean has decided to ignore the rules in this case, opting instead to restart the fight after telling Buentello that he deserved it.

Round 2, 0:58: Rogan says Buentello is getting “molested”

Okay, not a rules violation, but it just makes me feel, I don’t know, uncomfortable.

So what have we learned today? That some rules are flexible, some are nonsensical, and as long as you have faith that your opponent is too afraid of getting booed/fired, it often pays to be a cheater. It might be time to clarify rules and the consequences of breaking them, as well do away with some we don’t need.

Cagepotato Comments

Showing 1-25 of comments

comments
Sort by : Show hidden comments
Charming Charlie- March 25, 2010 at 11:25 pm
Everyone saying Dean is the best in the business needs to go back to UFC 50-80 and watch Herb "the herb" Dean make all manor of decisions that make you question if he's reffing under the influence. Meanwhile we saw "Big" John McCarthy making all kinds of difficult stoppages at precisely the correct time, always.
Clyde- March 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm
It was a tough match to call so I'll keep it brief.

Grabbing the fence should not be a instant point off. It's damn near impossible to avoid reaching out for something as you fall. You may as well penalise someone for covering up when hit.

Kongo was kneeing to the head when Buentello put his hand down. Buentello deserved the time to recover, but Kongo shouldn't get penalised because he couldn't see the hand go down.

Knees/Kicks to downed opponents is great and all, and would stop a lot of dull lay and pray matches. But it just takes one guy getting brain damage from repeated knees and the whole thing can be over before we know it.

12-6 elbows are no worse than any other elbow strike, especially to the ass; just let them be.

Reffing ain't easy.
robthom- March 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm
anderson silva has done that many times. But he does it at little variations to the 12-6 angle. From the side a little bit.

The way I understand it is the rule is just badly written and only applies to the specific 12-6 elbow spiking horizontally. And maybe only top to bottom. I think rogan said that.
Yeti Stomp- March 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm
By the way, as far as the 12-6 elbow goes, haven't I seen a number of fighters, including Anderson Silva, drop a couple dozen of those to the top of their opponents' skull while defending from the guard position? How is that any different, and why is it allowed? Or am I full of shit because that rule has been changed since I last saw it?
Yeti Stomp- March 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm
You know, I like the idea of fighters weighing in two hours before event kickoff. Not only would it force the fighters to be more realistic about what weight they want to fight at, they'll be healthier for it.

I don't think there would be a great deal of changes as far as who's dominant - GSP, A. Silva, Lesnar, Mir, A. Johnston and their like would remain at the top fo their respective divisions. It's a talent thing more than a weight thing.

Anyway, reffing any UFC fight has got to be one of the hardest things in the world to do. He's got to factor in all the rules & regs, everything he knows, everything he sees, althewhile staying the fuck out of the way but still close enough to be effective as a ref/safety rep and all that shit.

Also, every call he makes is going to be subjective, which is to say a call based on how he is interpreting what he is seeing at that moment and putting that against the standard of rules that exists in his awareness along with the crowd, the camera flashes, the lights, the fighters, the noise, DW looming over your shoulder, staying out of the way, watching and recording everything in your head... holy fuck man. Bravo to you, Herb. I'd say he's doing a good job.
cecils_pupils- March 23, 2010 at 10:28 am
@ghostboner - I agree that Howard shoulda stopped dropping bombs sooner - c'mon, once the guys eyes are rolling back in is head maybe once more shot - but dude just kept swinin'. When Marquart KO'd Maia in mid-air he knew it was over and didn't need another swing - that's class.

I hope Roberts fights Anthony Johnson next and Rumble fucks his shit up as a little lesson.
Opposites Attack- March 23, 2010 at 9:57 am
my bad, put a button ont here that says "ONLY CLICK ONCE!"....im an idiot.
Opposites Attack- March 23, 2010 at 9:56 am
fuck....goddamn posting lag...SORRY!
Opposites Attack- March 23, 2010 at 9:55 am
hey....listen....getting hit in the armpit can really hurt....seriously. let someone wail on your pit and see how it feel....it gets right up there to the back/bottom of the shoulder joint and is incredibly painful....havent you ever seen any japanese kung fu movies? they love the armpit strike. and they also love flying in bamboo forests.
Opposites Attack- March 23, 2010 at 9:55 am
hey....listen....getting hit in the armpit can really hurt....seriously. let someone wail on your pit and see how it feel....it gets right up there to the back/bottom of the shoulder joint and is incredibly painful....havent you ever seen a japanese kung fu movies? they love the armpit strike. and they also love flying in bamboo forests.
Opposites Attack- March 23, 2010 at 9:54 am
hey....listen....getting hit in the armpit can really hurt....seriously. let someone wail on your pit and see how it feel....it gets right up there to the back/bottom of the shoulder joint and is incredibly painful....havent you ever seen an japanese kung fu movies? they love the armpit strike. and they also love flying in bamboo forests.
Opposites Attack- March 23, 2010 at 9:54 am
hey....listen....getting hit in the armpit can really hurt....seriously. let someone wail on your pit and see how it feel....it gets right up there to the back/nottom of the shoulder joint and is incredibly painful....havent you ever seen an japanese kung fu movies? they love the armpit strike. and they also love flying in bamboo forests.
ArmFarmer- March 23, 2010 at 8:35 am
@Babs

Tim Sylvia wasn't continuing with that broken arm, big difference there.

Also, I think that Paul should be cut some slack considering he dislocated his pinky by punching himself in the forehead. It's not like Kongo even inflicted the injury.

Where's the gif of that one btw.. doesn't look like most people even realized it happened.
ArmFarmer- March 23, 2010 at 8:31 am
Totally don't agree with "your playing the game" bullshit. If you are going to put rules in place, people are going to use them to their advantage and there's nothing wrong with that. I've never seen a ref force a fighter to turn his head so that his face is exposed on the ground.. they are playing the game after all because they know the guy can't strike the back of their head. And what about armbars? They only use those cuz they know their opponent isn't aloud to bite their leg.. fuckin cheaters.

That pissed me off when Herb allowed Kongo to knee a downed opponent 3 times in a row and then blamed the opponent. Yeah if you touch the ground right as your about to get kneed in the face then it's your fault, at knee #3... not so much.
Babs- March 23, 2010 at 8:24 am
In hindsight, giving a timeout for a dislocated/jammed pinky makes little sense. They didn't give that kind of curteousy to Tim Slyvia when his radius/ulna were inadvertantly snapped, so why Buentello for a pinky boo boo? I can understand if there was confusion over equipment, but after confirming his pinky was having an ouchie, he should have given him the option to quit or fight. In the NFL people can come off to the sidelines to get a finger, or a vertebrae snapped back in place, but not in a sport where the name of the game is to injure your opponent.

Obviously there is a lot of leeway given here, because during the fight you can clearly see Herb Dean work out in his thoughts whether or not he wanted to deduct a point from Kongo. He walks over to Kongo without saying a word, and pauses for a moment before deciding to deduct a point. Shouldn't there be something more clear on the books here, than the opinion of each ref for some kind of continuity? In all I think the refs do as well as they can under the circumstances, but pressure needs to be on the comish' for something more consistent.
ctownhood- March 23, 2010 at 8:02 am
cecils_pupils Says:
Mon, 03/22/2010 - 20:11

With all the different things that went on in that fight, Herb Dean did a great job. We all know that grabbing he shorts and using the fence is minor and doesn't usually result in a point deduction, unless it's the 2nd or 3rd time in the fight. Herb also thought that their was an equipment issue, only once the doctor was in the cage did he learn the pinky was dislocated, not stuck.

Herb Dean is not infallable - he's human and makes some mistakes... but he's still the best in the business. His minor mistake did not change the outcome of he fight either.

My question is: Why is everyone so hung up on this issue with Herb Dean instead of lambasting the ref that was too far away to stop the Howard/Roberts fight? Had he done his job and been where he was supposed to be Roberts would have been spared from receiving 2 unnecessary shots after he was clearly KO'd.

That ref needs to be skewered, not Herb Dean.



Amen! That guy was in the worst possible position when Howard drop those Howitzer missiles on Robert's mandible. There were some confusing things going on with ol' Herb, but nothing that should be causing any major outcry.
hayes262- March 23, 2010 at 6:18 am
Herb Dean was right about 'playing the game'. If Kongo's giving legal knees to the face and then Buentello puts his hand on the ground to attract an illegal blow, that's playing the game.
ReX13- March 23, 2010 at 5:52 am
i have nothing new to add, but i would like to reiterate that Herb is the bestest ref--he disses fighters and doesn't afraid of anything.

Also, i love this crowd.
ghostboner- March 23, 2010 at 1:28 am
Also gotta say interesting point on the weigh in 2 hours before fight idea. I think I could look very talented fighting 125 pounders. 125 pound women that is. Amateur women. Over 50.
ghostboner- March 23, 2010 at 1:25 am
@ Harry nips - That was funny.

@cecils pupils - I also think Herb did pretty well. A lot of stuff is just going to come down to the ref's judgement calls and there will always be mistakes made. I think the back of the head strikes need to be enforced a bit more actively, but I agree that the ref who should be hearing about it is the one who allowed Roberts to receive his "thanks for playing" concussion.

I know, I am a vagina, why do I even watch mma blah blah blah, but I think that John Howard also needs to get some heat for teeing off on Roberts' head when he was obviously out. Everyone is quick to yell "He is supposed to fight til the ref stops him", well whatever. If you sit there bombing an unconscious dudes head off the mat it just makes you look like an asshole.(one time exception made for Dan Henderson) It is completely unnecessary, and it just turns more people who would either be fans or, at worst, indifferent to mma, into mma opposition. And the 12-6 elbow rule should stay. If someone takes a Jon Jones elbow point to their temple when they roll to their side they are gonna fucking die. Or someone is gonna get an elbow point straight in their eye from mount and lose their vision or something. This is supposed to be the closest we can come to a real fight, with SOME modicum of safety. I mean shit, if we are gonna start tossing out rules, why even wear the gloves?
robthom- March 22, 2010 at 8:57 pm
"...putting a couple fingers on the mat in no way makes knees to the head more dangerous and that rule should probably be abolished, but at the moment it’s still on the books. Dean has decided to ignore the rules in this case,..."


Somebody has to cut the path.
An MMA patriot!

Herb Dean.
The illegitimate great, great grandson of Thomas Jefferson.
Marcer- March 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm
Another thought on John Howard being allowed to pound Daniel Roberts into paste: the ref who did that fight was the same one who reffed Dos Santos/Werdum. Which, is sort of a fight that always stuck with me as having a badly delayed stoppage. I mean, worse than Howard/Roberts. The ref had to circle around and get a good view to make up his mind, all while Werdum was obviously unconscious and eating full-force bombs to the face.

Not enough to crucify the ref, yet. But if I can just remember him from another case off the top of my head, it may say something.
BryanF- March 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm
Stomps, soccer kicks, and 12-6 elbows to the head are a little brutal even for my tastes. I've taken headkicks before in Muay Thai and it sucks getting a toe nail or anything pointy near the eye. That has the potential to really blind you. It's alot easier to block something like that standing as opposed to being grounded when the back of your skull bounces off the mat.

And let's not even get started with how North American mainstream media would react. They have enough trouble accepting regular old GnP.
JCVD as Timecop- March 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm
Any rules that you see in the UFC are in place because they wanted it to be a "legitimate", "sanctionable" sport in America; they have no grounding in the reality of fighting, just what some old men who had no frame of reference outside of boxing figured wasn't "too dirty". How many people have died in MMA over the years? How many in boxing? Look it up and it might surprise you (but probably not).

@John Kimble
Manipulation of weight classes is exactly why I firmly believe that weigh-ins should be done two hours prior to the fight starting. That would change the entire dynamic of weight classes, and we'd see a lot of "talented" fighters like Anthony Johnson and Thiago Alves get eaten alive in their actual weight classes. It would also force the UFC to adopt a SHW class if they wished to exploit the crowd draw of people like Brock Lesnar.
Smitty- March 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm
@ Scott
He dislocated his pinky. Stevie Wonder told me that after watching the doctors come in the ring and try to put it back in place. Helen Keller also overheard them mention it was dislocated during the telecast.
CagePotatoMMA