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Tim Kennedy Is None Too Pleased With Big John McCarthy’s “F—ed Up” Performance at UFC 178

(Alas, Kennedy was *so* close to having his There Will Be Blood moment. Photo via Getty.)

True story: After being forced to reign in my gambling habit (and temporarily flee the state) due to a particularly tough beat in the Dolphins-Pats game, I sheepishly made another go of it for UFC 178 last weekend, placing a harmless 100 dollar bet on an Ebersole-Masvidal-Zingano-Kennedy parlay. If all went according to plan, the bet would have netted me around $990, a.k.a enough to stop Hairy Mike and that bug-eyed goon Roscoe from throwing me out of another speeding car. (It’s the lack of respect that hurts the most. That and the road rash.)

At the end of the second round between Kennedy and Romero, I was never more sure that I would avoid another unfortunate roadside beatdown. Though I was bound to a chair with a gasoline-soaked rag stuffed in my mouth, confidence was flowing through every fabric of my being. “Mff iff i d,” I mumbled aloud, which is rag-speak for “This is my day.” When the allotted 60-second break between rounds had passed and Romero was still slunken on his stool, I came as close to jumping for joy as my constraints would allow. How could the fight *not* be over? Romero was out on his feet ass and Kennedy has already begun celebrating! Surely my moment of validation was at hand!

You could imagine my surprise when Big John McCarthy — he of MMA lore and Marvin Gaye lyric-stealing fame — not only *didn’t* call the fight right then and there, but actually allowed Romero to continue. The utter madness! In any case, the third round started, Romero channeled what I can only assume was voodoo strength, and the next thing I know, I’m being pushed out the back of an F-150 onto a crowded interstate highway. Life’s not fair sometimes.

The only person arguably more pissed at the controversial turn of events than myself was Tim Kennedy, who engaged in a heated debate with Romero’s corner backstage before filing an official appeal of the decision. Never one to shy away from telling it like it is, Kennedy appeared on The MMA Hour yesterday to air his grievances with what has since been dubbed “stoolgate” and took primary aim at none other than Big John himself.

I think John is the best ref in the promotion. He and Herb Dean, truly, I have respect for. He f—ed up majorly in my fight. He got owned. He got owned that night by a bunch of guys doing sh—y things. He got played by all three of them, and he just let it happen.

Everything [Romero’s corner] did was calculated, from the extra Vaseline, to throwing in the towels, to dumping bottles of water on the floor, to leaving the stool in there…that’s how pathetic this is. And the fact that they’re smug about it was even more tragic. It’s just that much more unprofessional.

And before the fight, I told John, I said listen, if I hurt him, he’s going to start playing cheap. I promise. His corner’s going to do it, and he’s going to do it.

It’s hard not to feel for Kennedy here — he rallied back from a ten minute ass-whooping to nearly finish the Cuban powerhouse with his only decent combination of the night, only to have his opponent rally from behind thanks to some undoubtedly sketchy tactics. Even Dana White admitted in the UFC 178 post-fight press conference that Romero’s corner pulled the oldest, dirtiest trick in the book by leaving him on his stool, so how are they seemingly getting away with it? Short answer: Because the Unified Rules of MMA are less actual “rules” than they are “guidelines to follow when most convenient.”

“If you get the 28 seconds to recover, imagine if I had the extra 28 seconds in the second round. The guy wouldn’t be walking for a month.” said Kennedy.

For what it’s worth, Romero’s coach, Ricardo Liborio, thinks that this was all one big misunderstanding that we should probably move on from:

I wasn’t inside the Octagon when it all happened. I was giving instructions outside the cage because Paulino (Hernandez), his boxing coach, doesn’t speak a single word in English. He only speaks Spanish. When they said seconds out, I went back to the corner and didn’t see what happened. “But when I was talking to Yoel, he was already back. He wasn’t out. He was talking to me. I told him ‘you have to go straight forward and win the round, you have to win the third round,’ and he said ‘I got it, coach.

I didn’t see anything going on there. I first heard about it when Joe Rogan asked him about it, and my Spanish isn’t that good either [laughs]. I don’t know how long did it take for the fight to restart, but Yoel wasn’t out and he never asked to stop the fight. The whole situation was a mess. Paulino never intended to win some time, and that’s not my style. I would never do something like that.

The tl:dr version:

My shattered tibia, on the other hand, is still calling bullshit on Romero’s win.

-J. Jones

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