Mike Rodriguez was seemingly just seconds away from his second straight knockout victory when referee Chris Tognoni paused his fight with Ed Herman.
After Herman crumbled to the mat, Tognoni declared a low blow had caused the knockdown. But replays clearly showed Rodriguez blasted him to the body with a knee that came nowhere near the groin.
Unfortunately, the referee wasn’t allowed to change his decision based on a replay, so the fight continued, and Herman staged a miraculous comeback to submit Rodriguez with a kimura in the third round.
Following the event, UFC President Dana White erupted when addressing Tognoni’s controversial decision to call a foul when one never happened, which ultimately cost Rodriguez a win he deserved.
“It’s hard not to bang on this guy – the worst I’ve ever seen,” White said of Tognoni at the UFC Vegas 10 post-fight press conference. “He’s f**king [Steve] Mazzagatti-level. Some Mazzagatti-level sh*t right there. That was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.
“That kid wins by knockout, technical knockout and loses the fight. One of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Disgusting.”
White also complained about the inability for replay to change the referee’s call, even though it was evident that he made a mistake by pausing the fight for an apparent low blow rather than handing Rodriguez the TKO win.
In Nevada, there is limited use of replay allowed by officials, but only after a fight ending sequence. Because the referee declared a foul rather than a finish, he was not allowed to use replay in that instance.
“I was all over them tonight about replay,” White said when addressing the Nevada Athletic Commission. “We have to have replay. There’s gotta be replay. All you’ve got to do is look at the f**king replay that’s playing 6,000 times while Herman’s on the ground to say, ‘Oh sh*t I made a mistake.’ Not only did that happen, but he goes ‘Time!’ And Mike Rodriguez goes, ‘Time? What do you mean time? Fight’s over.’ Then they start fighting again, he knocks him down again, and hits him with like 15 punches and elbows and he still doesn’t stop it.
“I thought Ed Herman owed that guy money or something. Like what the f**k did Ed Herman do to this guy? Only Ed Herman could have pulled that off, cause that guy is so damn tough. You can’t see everything. They’re human. You can’t see everything. That’s a tough one. How you think that is a groin kick is next level nuts, but whatever it happens but what are you going to do? It happened.”
White has never been shy about taking aim at a referee or official, especially when Mazzagatti was a regular at UFC events in Nevada. Mazzagatti hasn’t officiated a UFC card in several years after retiring from his referee duties, but White rarely misses an opportunity to invoke his name when a poor decision is made in a fight.
On Saturday night, it was Tognoni’s turn to receive White’s tirade.
“I’m telling you, nobody has ever f**ked up more than Mazzagatti, and that was a Mazzagatti moment right there for that guy,” White said. “It was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. It was over. The fight was finished.
“That’s like him being knocked out and f**king lets give him time to wake up and he can fight again. Literally what it was like. Then as soon as he stood up, the whole side of his body was as red as red could be.”
Rodriguez’s manager Tyson Chartier has already said he intends to file an appeal, but based on past cases, it’s unlikely the commission would actually overturn the decision. Thankfully, White added that Rodriguez will be compensated properly for the fight, and he suffered no injuries as a result of the submission applied by Herman in the third round.
“That’s what I was really worried about,” White said. “This kid gets robbed like that, and he’s got a broken arm. He doesn’t have a broken arm. He’s OK, which is awesome.
“We’re giving Mike his win money, too. He won the f**king fight.”