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Pete Sell Is Okay; Yves Lavigne Admits to Screwing Up


The one person in the MMA world not criticizing Yves Lavigne for his refereeing decisions in UFC 96’s Matt Brown/Pete Sell bout is Pete Sell.  And that makes sense.  Just like Josh Koscheck asked all refs everywhere to let him get beaten into unconsciousness before stopping his fights, Sell also wants the opportunity to try and get back in the fight, even when it’s a really bad idea:

"I want always to be given the chance to fight back, not matter what," Sell said Tuesday. "I thought he did good with that. … I want any referee that judges the fight to always give me the benefit of the doubt that I’m always willing to fight."

But willingness to fight isn’t so much the issue.  It’s whether he’s capable of fighting intelligently, or whether he’s so dazed that he’s taking needless punishment.  The referee is there to make that decision because we don’t trust individual fighters – guys like Sell, whose tremendous heart could get him seriously hurt in such a situation – to make that decision for him.  

Lavigne failed in that task, and he knows it:

"I did let Mr. Sell take maybe — not maybe — I let him take a beating for absolutely nothing," he told The Canadian Press. "So I didn’t do my job properly. So basically, I screwed up. I screwed up and I’m going to learn from it and try not to do it again. … I’m going to make sure not to do it again."

We’ve said it before, but Lavigne really is one of the better refs in MMA on a regular basis.  He just had a bad night, which may or may not have been affected by referee Rick Fike’s horribly early stoppage of the evening’s first bout between Aaron Riley and Shane Nelson.  The arena filled with boos after that one, and it’s possible that Lavigne had visions of a Fike-like fan lynching as he was about to step in and wave the fight off.  At least he realizes his mistake now.  

As for Sell, he got checked out and is doing fine.  The way the fight unfolded and the criticism of Lavigne that has followed should make us think back to the questionable Koscheck/Thiago stoppage, just so we can remember why it might be a bad idea for referees to wait until a guy is completely unconscious before stopping the fight.  Sell was still capable of getting to his feet and looking reasonably aware, but it didn’t mean he was in any condition to keep fighting.

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Web Site- February 14, 2011 at 7:32 am
I tried taking a look at your website with my blackberry and the structure doesnt seem to be correct. Might want to check it out on WAP as well as it seems most cellphone layouts are not really working with your site.
vrane- March 11, 2009 at 5:27 am
Sell probably messed with Brown's tobacco.
Forrest44- March 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm
nothing wrong with Yves, he's one of the best refs the UFC has; he just made a mistake. Everyone that has ever had a job has made a mistake. He manned up to it and that's good enough for me.
ossified- March 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm
Yves just had a bad night..! hopefully he dont make any mistakes anymore as he is one of the best..! Remember when he rolled in the Octagon while referreing..? Thats fuckin awesome..! lol..!
recently.reaped- March 10, 2009 at 3:15 pm
I have to say I respect Yves that much more for owning up to his mistake.
bitteralex- March 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm
I just glad he owned up to his mistake... very few people ever do
Frank Mur- March 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm
BTW.....Flint Hooters chicks were on point saturday!
Frank Mur- March 10, 2009 at 2:21 pm
Should have let it go about another minute, now we're gonna have to watch Sell fight again...THANKS YVES!!
Aikura- March 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm
Questionable stoppages aside - The talent, class, and respect for one's opponent shown by fighters like Matt Brown and Damien Maia is MMA's greatest asset in gaining recognition as a legitimate sport worldwide. Kudos to The Immortal for keeping his cool and not ripping Yves a new one as soon as he had the mic. I would have.
The Irish Wolfhound- March 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm
I'm not going to say anything about one stoppage mainly because i remember back in the day where Big John, the supposed best in the business, wasn't paying close enough attention and a guy had his arm broken by Royce Gracie as a result.
doctor satan- March 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm
Mike Goldberg: "Great job by Yves Lavigne" hahaha fail
Phwoar- March 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm
The refs all need to chill out a wee bit.

It seems like they're all really jumpy these days. There never used to be so many mistakes/early stoppages.

My advice is to chill the fuck out.
Fat Irish Pirate- March 10, 2009 at 12:43 pm
@the guy who said he should go back to manage his daughter Avril, that shit cracked me up


Just because Sell can stand up doesnt mean he is coherent and able to defend himself. I mean, we saw how well he did being able to stand when he was arrested for drunk driving. I think Lavigne apologizing is good, instead of pulling a BJ and providing video of all the stoppages of his that were good.
The Greg- March 10, 2009 at 12:13 pm
His mistake was, as said earlier, stepping in then stepping out. But, I'd rather have that than flat out making the mistake of stopping too early.

Mistake #2 was when the beating was clearly prolonged, and Yves was waiting for Pete to flat out drop. Still didn't stop it.

There was one mistake that extended into more mistakes as confusion mounted. I'm sure Matt Brown didn't help things when he just stood for a bit while Yves wanted him to finish.
Nukeblast- March 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm
Ref in MMA is probably the worst job ever.... everything is going so fast.

Lavigne is still the best ref imo....very few mistakes.

derrick- March 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm
the only problem i seen in that fight was the confusion when yves stepped in the first time. either step in and call it or let it go and the guy takes a few more for certain that hes finished. if lavigne never stepped in and brown threw a couple more or if sell managed to get up without lavigne stepping in there would have been nothing wrong. yves lavigne is one of the few good refs that are left so do not criticize him as there are a lot worse stops either early or late from many other refs
The Greg- March 10, 2009 at 11:43 am
I never really liked Pete Sell that much, so....

Good Job, Yves. Can you ref a Diego or Lesnar fight in the near future?

2 more guys that deserve a protracted beating session.
armfarmer- March 10, 2009 at 11:32 am
I also agree, the main issue is that he stopped it then changed his mind and let it go. It may have been a little late regardless but it wasn't THAT bad. Wolf took way more punishment from Saunders at fight for the troops and noone really complained about that one.
armfarmer- March 10, 2009 at 11:25 am
@ matt serra

Nope.. that's why I'm not there.
skidding- March 10, 2009 at 10:31 am
Seeing Matt Brown dominate like that made me think twice about thinking that Kim Dong Hyun isn't that good after all.
-cw-- March 10, 2009 at 10:31 am
The big issue I thought was that Brown knocked Sell down, Lavigne stepped in and let Sell stand up and then let the fight continue. If Brown had somehow lost he would have had some grounds to contest the outcome. If Lavigne hadn't interfered Brown could have leapt on him and g&p-ed him out.
Fedor a million ankles- March 10, 2009 at 10:16 am
Yves, you are forgiven.
Little Dan- March 10, 2009 at 9:47 am
I'm glad Yves owned up to his mistake. I thought it was good that he decided to let the fight go on after the first stoppage because it was just too soon. However after the punches to the face around the :44 second mark it's time to call it quits. If you get punched that many times with no sign of defending the nights over.
Mantooth- March 10, 2009 at 9:41 am
It's hard to blame Yves for letting the fight go especially for all the criticism the refs in the last UFC event got for stopping too early.
I trust he will learn from this and will make better judgment in the future.
Sodak- March 10, 2009 at 9:38 am
don't think the stoppage was late. he shouldn't of half stopped it and then changed his mind that was weird.
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