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Why Yves Lavigne Was Getting Booed on Saturday…

(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?

Cagepotato Comments

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Blackleg- May 27, 2009 at 6:12 am
What kind of a fucking world are we living in where Lavigne is booed but Mazzagatti is not.


Good stoppage though for what he was looking at.
karate is back- May 26, 2009 at 7:13 pm
horrible stoppage. i wouldn't want lavigne costing someone a championship with a call like that. and if Nover gets cut from the UFC based on losing this second fight, it's bullshit.
NECROPHYTE- May 26, 2009 at 6:39 pm
Hell, I haven't even seen Mazz ref lately. Did he even work this weekend?
sPeLLcHeCkEr- May 26, 2009 at 6:34 pm
Wow, are we really still doing the French jokes? Get in the ring with GSP then, and test your theory.

I initially hated the call too, but after the replay I realized that a lot of that emotion was misguided, coming off of that bad call during the Sell/Brown fight.

He made the right decision here, just like an umpire calls an inside fastball that does, upon replay, catch the plate.

I'm still hating on Mazzagatti. I'm sorry, but he makes any other referee look like Big John by comparison. I personally still can't get over the Serra/Hughes debacle and the excruciating amount of smothering that Mazz just couldn't resist watching. You guys wanna talk horrible reffing, let's talk about him.
Cathedron- May 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm
I feel for Yves. I really do. But that was bad and Yves knew it almost immediately. Nover did go limp for a second, but was already scrambling as soon as Yves started to move in. Still, it wouldn't have looked so bad if he hadn't "pulled a Lavigne" and let the fight go for a bit before once again stepping forward and calling it. He should have looked more decisive, at least.
NECROPHYTE- May 26, 2009 at 4:01 pm
Japanese refs let the shit go on til someone's completely destroyed.
Nippletwist- May 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm
i think he did his job the way the ufc wants him to do it, but not the way i want him to. i say let em fight a little more than that. i think part of a fight is your ability to recover, it's a potential aspect of a good fighter, a guy who can comeback from being rocked. but if you stop a fight right away when a guy gets rocked you remove that aspect of the sport, and i don't like that.
Marcer- May 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm
Sort of the same as the Pete Sell fight, in that it's not the early stoppage as much as the complete indecisiveness of it. Lavigne has a tendency to jump in earlier than some other refs, but then in the middle of trying to break it up he decides it can go on and backs off.
NECROPHYTE- May 26, 2009 at 2:29 pm
It's cuz Yves Lavigne is FRENCH-Canadian and history tells us that French people don't like to fight and will retreat plus they kinda smell like B.O. to top it off.
Sneaky Pete- May 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm
"These early stoppages have to stop"

It's easy to say that until someone takes a solid shot when they're out and takes some permanent damage. Do you know what that would do to the sport? Not to mention the unfortunate fighter who is counting on the ref to use his judgement in these circumstances.

In my opinion the Ref bears the brunt of the responsibility to stop the fight, but when a fighter is clearly out and the fighter Tees off a few times for good measure, waiting for the ref to tell him or her to stop is also responsible for inordinate damage.

I hope the sport can survive when something catastrophic does happen and all the questions come flying in, "Did you do everything you could to minimize the potential for permanent injury?"

Harry Russo- May 26, 2009 at 2:23 pm
Yves shows bias towards french and french canadian fighters.
raspberrymight- May 26, 2009 at 2:06 pm
It's a shame really, I can see why people who paid good money to go see the fight live would complain that they thought it was an early stoppage. On the other hand, as many have mentioned before Yves has gotten himself into a lot of shit for late stoppages and Nover was definately out, even if only for a second, he may have recovered quickly, but even if he had the chance to roll over he still would have been rocked.

The bottom line is that mma is a brutal sport and there wouldnt be a future for a lot of up and comers like Nover if he was continually allowed to get his melon pounded on while he was unconscious

Hang in there Yves, we know you're doing your job right
831 Son- May 26, 2009 at 2:00 pm
The rule sounded good to me that Joe Rogan brought up. The stoppage was mostly justified though.
just some dong- May 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm
Good stoppage, shit fans.

Hamma Fist Elbow Bam-Bam- May 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm
Agreed, that was a good stoppage. Sucks for Phillipe, but he definitely went out, if only for a second.
Fight Fan- May 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm
Rogan at 3:25 - "He did go limp there for a second but I think he was just transitioning".

LOL! That might be the funniest thing I've ever heard out of Rogan.
BackbaconBilly- May 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm
The Ref's will never be perfect, there is only 2 ways of making the call, you either let the fighter who is dominating continue to rain down bombs until it is an absolute that the losing fighter is knocked out or you step in and err on the side of safety,its one or the other.
Dojima- May 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm
Why do we American fans suck? We boo a knockout that a dude may or may not have have recovered from quickly, while the Japanese fans roar like a volcano and and an earthquake are having hot make-up sex in a hurricane for the weak fights that were most of the Super Hulk tournament... And the Japanese pay more for this shit than we do.
Spotpuff- May 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm
Sounds like what boxing does, which is a recipe for repeat concussions.
Crap Factory- May 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm
Why does Lavigne still have a job? It certainly looks like Nover was out, but for less than a second before he regained his composure. I can understand why he stopped the fight but I think it was done too quickly. Refs should do a 2 second count (unless it's painfully obvious) when a fighter goes down. It would give the fighter a chance without risking too much.

Thankfully Yves Lavigne doesn't referee in my area. I know I've been knocked a little silly before and thankfully had a second or two to recover and keep fighting.
Polish- May 26, 2009 at 12:56 pm
Sadly I think they need to adopt something like Boxing. Not a standing 8 count but if the guy recovers before the fight is truly stopped then GTFO of the way and let them continue. It's bullshit that fights like Herring/Nog got to continue but this one didn't. People are KO'd for nano seconds on their feet all the time but clinch tight or go for a take down or something to get their wits back about them. Nover may have been out, but it was literally for less then a second. That is bullshit if you ask me. If when the fight restarts he keeps getting hammered or goes out again, then stop it. I don't even really care about this specific fight but you can't change the fucking way you ref each time, Sell/Brown compared to this makes me think someone is paying this fucker off to make these calls. Does anyone else get suspicious? I mean that is a pretty strange to go from letting the fighter get the shit kicked out of him to stopping a fight after the guy was already recovered.
Fedor fan- May 26, 2009 at 12:49 pm
Change the rules, let the ref change his mind.
He did apologize both fighter aftewords...
Old_Bald_and_Irish- May 26, 2009 at 12:40 pm
3:29 mark says it all.

Nover's left arm collapses and his face is in the mat. At this point, he's not transitioning, he's becoming parallel to the canvas. Yves has a perfect view and when he sees that, he calls it.

Good call by Yves.

Unfortuantely, Nover came outta that REAL fast and did start transitioning but it was after Yves made his call.

What people have to remember is that the refs have the responsibility of the fighters safety in their hands. That's pretty serious. If they err on the side of caution, so be it. But the refs are doing this for the fighters safety. You just can't screw around with that.

Is it just me or have the past six months just been full of these flash KOs/flash recoveries? It would be nice if they could come up with a rule to address this. My suggestion would have been that at the 3:33-3:35 mark, if you see the fighter has recovered, control the attacker, immediately stand up the fighter who flash recovered. If they look very wobbley or fall back down: fights over. If they seem OK, immediately restart where they are on their feet.

I'm sure Bradley's happy with the win, but winning that way feels just a little hollow. Nover could have continued.
a platypus- May 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm
Yves did his job, Nover went limp and it's irrelevant that he snapped back in consciousness almost immediately.
Art Gibs- May 26, 2009 at 12:33 pm
This is off topic, but did anyone else notice how when Machida hit Evans with a minute to go in the first, he kicked and punched Evans nearly at the same time. Machida kicks with the left, then before his left foot is down, the left punch comes in. Has anyone else seen anything like that? Amazing.