(Props: MMA Bloodbath)
If you were paying attention during UFC 98, you probably noticed that every time referee Yves Lavigne was introduced, he was booed as if the crowd just saw a video of him farting on sandwiches. No, it wasn’t leftover hate from the Brown/Sell fiasco — the crowd actually turned on him thanks to his controversial handling of the preliminary match between Kyle Bradley and TUF 8 lightweight finalist Phillipe Nover. Taking a look at the video above, we see the following…
2:10: Bradley lands a short right that seems to rattle Nover.
2:13-2:15: Bradley tosses Nover down like a child and smashes him with the kind of punch that could theoretically knock somebody out. In the background, Joe Silva does his usual freak-out. Lavigne is on high alert at this point.
2:17-2:18: Bradley nails Nover with two more punches directly to his temple. Nover crawls over to grab Bradley’s leg, but his movement is a little too slow and Lavigne jumps in to stop the fight.
2:19-2:31: Nover rolls to avoid more punches then brings his legs up to keep Bradley at bay. Lavigne finally gets Bradley under control, and Nover jumps up. He tries to invoke the "what the fuck is your problem?" rule, to no avail.
2:32-2:52: Joe Rogan calls it a "terrible, terrible decision by Yves Lavigne…We need to come up with a rule, when a referee makes a decision like that and he screws up, they let ‘em fight again."
3:16-3:21: Goldberg: "Now let’s see exactly what happened at the end of that fight, Joe, on our Bud Light Replay, the difference is drinkability."
Look, that Bud Light Replay says it all. Nover’s shoulder hit the mat like he went to sleep, and Lavigne, in my opinion, can’t be faulted for jumping in. Obviously in retrospect, the fight should have continued, but Yves reacted correctly to what he saw at the time. In other words, I don’t think this incident should drop Lavigne in the P4P referee rankings — though he might be on the fans’ shitlist for a few months.
What do you think? Did Lavigne do his job poorly, or a little too well?