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Strikeforce Challengers 18: Rousey Bends an Arm, Mazzagatti Blows a Call, Sun Rises in the East and Sets in the West

(Video Props: heretherhere)

If the best indicator of future performance is past behavior, the outcome of last night’s battle between Ronda Rousey and Sarah D’Alelio was written on the wall. Rousey, an Olympic medalist judoka, entered the cage with two pro and three amateur bouts under her black belt, all having ended via submission in under a minute. Referee Steve Mazzagatti sports a panoply of blown calls and poor decisions that have earned him the dishonor of being labeled one of MMA’s worst referees. When lightening fast submissions meet questionable decision making, get ready for the fireworks.

The trouble started for D’Alelio the moment the bell rang; Rousey switched up her takedown attack feverishly until she succeeded in bringing the fight to the mat just eighteen seconds into the bout. The trouble started for Mazzagatti about eight seconds later, when he stopped the fight based on a rumor he’d heard that D’Alelio had verbally submitted. The truth is that that Rousey was more than capable of making D’Alelio tap and tap quickly, and her odds of escaping that armbar were slim. But it doesn’t look like Mazzagatti stepped in because D’Alelio tapped verbally or otherwise, or because she was in immediate danger. Rousey stops torquing the arm and turns toward Mazzagatti to inform him that D’Alelio had cried out “Tap! Tap!”, and though we haven’t heard his side of the tale it looks like he takes her word for it and ends the fight. D’Alelio claims to have yelled “Wahahaaahaa!” in response to the pain, but that she never wanted out of the fight. D’Alelio could call for a rematch, but the end result would probably be the same. As for Rousey, how about a fight with Kyra Gracie?

(Gif courtesy of Zombie Prophet)

Full Results (via


  • Joe Duarte def. Jorge Gurgel via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Nate James def. Danillo Villefort via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Pat Healy def. Eric Wisely via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Ronda Rousey def. Sarah D’Alelio via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 0:25
  • Derrick Mehmen def. Roy Jones via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)


  • Gian Villante def. Keith Berry via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Nah-Shon Burrell def. Lukasz Les via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 2:09
  • Mike Bronzoulis def. Chad Leonhardt via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 1:30
  • Milton Vieira def. Sterling Ford via technical submission (brabo choke) – Round 1, 4:49

Cagepotato Comments

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Mir please break Brocks neck- August 16, 2011 at 2:47 am
Mazzagatti made the right call. That fighter didnt need to say 'tap'. She was in pain, she SAID SOMETHING and was going nowhere FAST. I DO think Steve listened to Rousey more than he listed to whatever her name was. The Fertitta's are a-holes. Just thought Id share....
RSparrow- August 14, 2011 at 11:31 am
Thanks for the comment, and ya he's amped. He'll get a spot on the main card soon.
Todd M- August 14, 2011 at 6:17 am
Meh let em do it again, The real story for me was Rousey's grappling, you dont want to give her your arm thats for sure
RwilsonR- August 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm
@ RSparrow - glad to see your boy Mike B. pull out the W. Didn't see the fight, but I'm happy for the guy.
fxdfp- August 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm
I know this is MMA and all, but in jiu jitsu tournaments, when you scream "whaaahahahahaaaaaa" in pain the ref is going to stop the fight. You don't need to say "tap" for a fight to be stopped by a ref. Mazzugatti blows a lot of calls but this on I agree with.
CrushCo- August 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm
@TigrMchine: You're right, really. I saw it written elsewhere that he made the right call for the wrong reason. It may or may not have been appropriate to stop the fight (you can't really hear if she called "tap" or see her face), but either way he didn't hear her say it or hear her scream or see her tap or see her in any real danger. It looks like he was responding solely to what he was told. If he was responding to her scream, he did so very slowly without any sense of urgency, which would also be poor reffing. I don't hate the guy, he's just not a great ref. I'd rather have a ref that stops things early than stops them late, I suppose.
TigrMchine- August 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm
I am loathe to defend the guy, but I was under the impression that screaming in pain IS in fact a verbal tap. I am hard pressed to think of a ref who wouldn't stop a fight because someone is screaming in pain.
CrushCo- August 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm
@Xenophon: Check one of my links for the Hammill-Jones fight. He was asking Hammill if he wanted out of the fight, but Hammill's eyes were full of blood and elbows so he couldn't see (hear) the questions. Yes, the elbows were illegal, but Hammill was already injured by the takedown, I believe. Rather than a stoppage we ended with a DQ. Such a strange situation you can't be too tough on Mazz, but considering his other issues it's just a drop in the bucket.
XENOPHON- August 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm

- On February 2, 2009 at UFC 81: Breaking Point, Mazzagatti was refereeing the bout between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir. Lesnar ripped Mazzagatti for standing up the fight after he hit Mir in the back of the head, and for failing to stop the fight quickly when he tapped out. Dana White said Lesnar was right to be upset.

- On July 29, 2008 at UFC Fight Night 14: Silva vs. Irvin, when Anthony Johnson was repeatedly poked in the eye by Kevin Burns, to the point where Johnson could no longer continue fighting, Mazzagatti stopped the fight, giving Burns the TKO victory.

- Calling a "time-out" during the Rob McCullough vs. Jamie Varner WEC Lightweight title fight in order to get Varner's mouth piece back in, allowing him to recover.

- Failed to stop Jason MacDonald from landing continuous hammer fists on Joe Doerksen, well after the fight should have been stopped - Mazzagatti himself admitted that he made a mistake by letting the bout continue for as long as it did.

- Where can I complete list all Mazzaghatti's record?
intercept440- August 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm
well when one of them screams wahahahaaaa like she said she did by her own admition that usually means she's about to bow out and tap, but hey who knows... on another side note. jorge gurgle just gurgled up another decision loss... he might want to think about flipping burgers or something, and let his wife make all the scratch for him
SumDumGuy- August 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm
Mazzagatti may ultimately have made correct call though for the wrong reasons. I buy rousy's explanation. looks legit. also, IMO the gif at the bottom (NPI) increases her credability in my eyes.
andoy162- August 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm
it was a good call.the arm was dead on locked.she stopped fighting when Rousey let go a bit. it was a broken arm in the making but she gets to fight another day without an injury that could sideline her for months. its a rematch in the making.
XENOPHON- August 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm
What other fights has Mazzagatti blown?
CrushCo- August 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm
@Squirrel: It's possible, but he just doesn't move in like he's responding to a tap. There's no sense of urgency. Also, neither fighter mentions her physically tapping.
streaming megavideo- August 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm

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Squirrel- August 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm
@ 2:34 it's questionable. There's no big show but maybe Mazz thought she was tapping her wrist.
camel-toe clutch- August 13, 2011 at 11:51 am
Where is the petition to have Steve Mazzagatti's license revoked? Seriously, Why is he still here?
FightZen- August 13, 2011 at 11:49 am
Yeah, there was no tap, but it also seemed like Sara stopped fighting at that point, until the legs came back up. Forget Kyra. Since no one's hurt, let them do it again.