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Jordan Breen: Referee Kim Winslow did not act irresponsibly during the Cris Cyborg/Jan Finney fight

By Zach Arnold | June 27, 2010

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From Sherdog radio last night, this right here is the passage that will probably send a lot of people crazy one way or the other.

The start of the passage deals with why people are finding it easier to make fun of Strikeforce. Then it transitions into whether or not round one of Cris Cyborg vs. Jan Finney should have been scored 9-8, 9-7, or even a 9-6 round.

Here’s the start:

JORDAN BREEN: “Strikeforce events, for whatever reason now, I think Strikeforce for a lot of people has used up the goodwill of fans so people are really willing to be smarmy and snarky about it and it seems like everyone from fans to media to other fighters, they turn into real comedians when Strikeforce cards are on in a really gregarious and amusing way.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Not that hard, though, I mean the material’s very easy.”

JORDAN BREEN: “Oh, the material’s easy but it’s still homerun, it’s stuff that you can slam out of the park 600 feet. The hardest I’ve laughed during an MMA event in quite some time and largely because of the Tweeting therein though I will say I found the most annoying Tweets people who acted as though Kim Winslow’s some kind of sadist and acted as though she was irresponsible in acting this way.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Well, I don’t think…”

JORDAN BREEN: “Part of it’s a build because of the James McSweeney incident last weekend but here you know I don’t know what people want. Fighters are supposed to fight until they can no longer fight. Jan Finney… she was still going for take downs, feebly so, but still going for takedowns and in the second round she came out after being completely destroyed for the first five minutes and landed the best punch of the fight for her, so clearly she still had a little something left up until Cris Cyborg’s knee collided with her torso.”

And now, for the rest of the story…

TJ DE SANTIS: “I was the only one of our panel of judges between you and Mike Fridley that gave the first round to Cyborg 9-8 instead of being 9-7. A point deducted from Cyborg due to strikes in the back of the head. Really, the only reason I think I didn’t give it a 9-7, Jordan, is because I still thought Finney had some fight in her and yeah, I mean, her offense was nonexistent and she was getting it taken to her. I was very, very close to going 9-7. I gave it 9-8 still because I thought that she was somewhat game. Clarify, tell me why I’m an idiot for not going 9-7 because I mean… having some fight left in you probably shouldn’t be a judging criteria, correct?”

JORDAN BREEN: “No, I mean, if you almost get finished like three times, I don’t know. I thought about calling it a 9-6 round. Like she was almost finished like three or four times. She got her ass kicked and in an extraordinary way.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Yeah. Before we even go onto your next point, why was Cyborg not able to finish Finney in the first? Was it because she was just not landing enough strikes? Because she was clearly putting it on her but she was lacking that final finishing blow and we’ve seen Cyborg in the past almost really get excited, she senses the end is near and she doesn’t really pick her punches. Do you think she needs to slow down a little bit when she tastes teh blood and smells the end coming that she needs to try to load up for that one final devastating you know head shot that ends it or is she just getting overexcited or was it a case in Jan Finney being you know good enough to just cover up and not have the fight stopped and still you know take a pretty good beating?”

JORDAN BREEN: “Well, Finney was definitely tough, no questions there. But one reason that I find it so ridiculous that people act as though Finney was about to die in the cage and Kim Winslow acted irresponsibility is she would get dropped with something, she would cover up, and Cyborg was just standing there throwing arm hammer fists like no body rotation, nothing, just literally just hitting her with the most kind of perfunctory hammer fists and that’s nice of someone to already completely you just trying to flurry for a stoppage but if you’re really trying to do damage to someone and get them out of there, that’s not going to cut it and so I do think it’s what you mentioned, a lot of times Cris Cyborg will drop someone and flurry on them but it’s just kind of arm punches where she’s moving her hands as quickly as she can. Not a whole lot of intense power to polish people off and that’s’ one reasons that I thought Kim Winslow acted appropriately. She stood there, she watched the hammer fists, she was acute enough the first time around to realize that the punches were going to Jan Finney’s, the back of her head, and therefore call for and took the point away from Cris Cyborg. Thought she probably should have been warned as opposed to having the point taken away at first but nonetheless she was watching the strikes closely.

“So what’s the ref supposed to do? That’s much better. Is that not better than someone getting dropped, the guy comes and just flurries insanely while a guy covers up for three seconds and it gets stopped? Like to me that’s the most annoying thing in MMA. A guy gets hit with a punch, goes down, he’s in guard or on hs back and he puts his hands over his face, which is fine because the guy’s going to come punch you. The guy gets on top and just throws six punches in a second, all of them are blocked, and that’s a stoppage? It’s not an intelligent defense to put your hands over your head if someone’s trying to punch you in the head?”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Yeah, that’s…”

JORDAN BREEN: “Here I was thinking that was the best defense because as far as I’ve seen, people do that on the feet. I’ve been watching boxing and MMA. When I see people get punched on the feet, one thing they often happen to do is put their hands over their head. Believe it’s called BLOCKING. Seen it once or twice. And so to act as though that’s illegitimate on the ground simply because your horizontal instead of vertical is asinine. I mean, there’s no way around the fact that the fight was violent.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Absolutely.”

JORDAN BREEN: “It was a beatdown. … Definitely a violent fight. The problem is people seem to convince themselves that because MMA isn’t the most violent sport that it’s not violent at all or that it shouldn’t ever be violent and it’s a prize fight, it’s violent by nature. Don’t convince yourself that this is flag football. Bad, nasty grizzly stuff is going to happen from time to time. The question is, is the person who’s having that done to them, are they still in a position to fight? And Jan Finney clearly was up until the knee collided with her sternum and that was it. I’ve had absolutely no beef with Kim Winslow’s decision on the stoppage. In fact, as I mentioned, the only thing that I’m questionable in her adjudicating the fight is why she took the point immediately, I would have rather a warning at that point in time considering it was the first offense there. Even if she [hit] twice in quick succession, that’s such a heat-of-the-moment thing that I think a warning is more appropriate the first time around. But, don’t cry because oooooh, Jan Finney got beat up. She’s a big girl. She knows what she’s getting into. There’s nothing in that fight that makes me think Kim Winslow acted irresponsibility and if anything I would like more referees to when someone goes down and gets hurt, take a good hard look. Are they getting punched in the arms? What kind of punches are actually coming at them?

“When people talk about oooh an intelligent defense is necessary. Intelligent defense is necessary to defend considerable offense and unless punches are getting through and doing some real damage as opposed to just perfunctory hammer fists after being dropped while someone’s taking them on the forearms and elbows? That’s not cutting it.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “The only critique I had as I going to say about Kim Winslow was the fact that every time that Finney was down and Cyborg was standing over her… Winslow seemed to almost interject herself into the, I mean, it wasn’t action but still you know there was just a moment break and she’d go, ‘do you want her up? do you want her up?’ ”

JORDAN BREEN: “Actually, I agree, I agree.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “If Cyborg wants her up, she should be given her the opportunity to back up and say I want her up. Don’t go out of your way to ask her if she wants to get up. I mean, that’s…”

JORDAN BREEN: “I agree completely and one other thing. The second time they clinched up in the first round, she broke them up literally in the middle of Cris Cyborg throwing a knee to the body, which I thought was horrible.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Also, too, you can’t look, I mean I know Cyborg has been working on her English and she’s getting better, but you can’t look at a non-English speaking fighter in a middle of a fight and go, DO YOU WANT HER UP? That’s not going to work. A lot of English-speaking fighters can’t understand you during a fight. Yeah, if you want… You got to let fighters dictate where the fights goes and if Cyborg wanted her up she would have backed up.”

JORDAN BREEN: “Agreed.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “But don’t let that take away from anything that Kim Winslow did well tonight because she allowed Jan Finney to fight. She allowed her to take the punishment when she wasn’t out of it and again you’re right a lot of people are going to cry foul, saying that it was absolutely brutal and vicious but Finney was really never out of the fight until it was stopped in the second round.”

JORDAN BREEN: “Yeah. So… ridiculous, ridiculous stuff to act as though that was what was objectionable and people are now Tweeting saying that Kim Winslow did warn Cris Cyborg for strikes to the back of the head but a minute before that, I’ll have to go back and watch and re-infer my opinion there, but be that as it may, there were some issues with her refereeing but fairly negligible ones in the bigger picture. The bigger picture is definitely the stoppage of the punishment that went on and to act as though that it’s inappropriate or it’s irresponsible because women are involved or because she was dropped a couple of times, seriously? Don’t kid yourself and think that MMA isn’t a violent sport and more than that, ask yourself at any point, really, if Jan Finney wasn’t in the proper condition to continue. Don’t take the watered-down standard that we’ve become accustomed to in MMA — guy gets dropped, flurry to three punches that hit him on the hands, oh that’s an OK stoppage. Don’t take that as being a standard that we should hold people to. That’s not a good standard just because it’s what we see the most often.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Also, too, I mean, is Jan Finney going to walk away from this fight a changed person? Is she going to not be able to take more punishment in her next fight?”

JORDAN BREEN: “No.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “No, absolutely not.”

JORDAN BREEN: “And that’s the other thing, too, is I mean to act as though this is irresponsible shows a real disregard for how physical wear and tear happens. You know, she wasn’t, I mean as we know yet, wasn’t seriously concussed in a major way but more than that, MMA one of the reasons it does have a fairly good safety record is the fact that this all transpired in about 7 minutes.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Yeah.”

JORDAN BREEN: “This is not a boxing match where it goes 27 minutes and Jan Finney takes that for you know 5, 6, 7, 8 rounds.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Getting knocked down two times each rounds and being allowed to continued.”

JORDAN BREEN: “Yeah, it’s a different animal altogether and so don’t act as though this was some kind of irresponsible attempted pillorying of Jan Finney in that she got seriously harmed in there. I mean, obviously, she did get harmed, that’s what happens in MMA, but she didn’t get harmed in a way in which it’s unsafe or unsavory for the sport and is something that should be abhorred and tried to legislate against in the future.”

Topics: MMA, Media, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 27 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

27 Responses to “Jordan Breen: Referee Kim Winslow did not act irresponsibly during the Cris Cyborg/Jan Finney fight”

  1. Wolverine says:

    I 100% agree with Breen.

  2. The Gaijin says:

    Her corner should be f****n ashamed of themselves to let her take the beating she did. I’m sure she has pride and was game, but they should have taken the situation out of her hands and the ref’s and thrown in the towel…a loss like that is terrible for a fighter both physically and mentally.

  3. Kyle says:

    Strikeforce should be ashamed for booking this fight. It set women’s MMA back five years. Cyborg should be ashamed that she can’t finish an opponent who’s turtled and clinging to one of her ankles. But Finney never seemed rocked and never stopped trying to advance her position. She was intelligently defending herself to the best of her ability. Her ability was just so far below that of her opponent that they shouldn’t have been in the cage together in the first place. Is the talent pool in women’s MMA really this shallow?

    • The Gaijin says:

      “Cyborg should be ashamed that she can’t finish an opponent who’s turtled and clinging to one of her ankles.”

      That’s total BS.

      First of all some opponents are just really tough and next to impossible to finish.

      Secondly when a fighter is turtled up like that there’s not much you can do, especially when they’re only presenting the back of their head to you and the ref won’t stop it while they’re literally in the fetal position, taking punishment and obviously not intelligently defending. Why should Santos have had to give up a superior position and risk getting put into a bad position when she had a prone opponent doing nothing?

      • yukkurishiteittene says:

        How about working the body instead of thowing bad arm punches for one? If you remember it was a body knee that finally did Jan Finney in.

        Your argument fails when at the end of the round; Finney gets up easily after Cyborg’s “devastating” barrage on the ground.

        Intelligent defense needs to be erased from the MMA dictionary, it’s been bastardized into a defense for early stoppages and has warped people’s perception of the sport.

        • JRN says:

          Intelligent defense needs to be erased from the MMA dictionary

          I couldn’t disagree more. To me, the “intelligent defense” rule is one of the few things separating the reality of MMA from the bloodsport caricature existing in the minds of large segments of the public. I don’t think I would be comfortable watching the sport without it.

        • edub says:

          She actually worked the body alot. If you rewatch the fight she landed some really hard shots on Finney’s sides.

          To me Cyborg is just not that good of a “technical” finisher. She just looks befuddled sometimes when whe has an opponent hurt.

        • She did with regularity. It was tough to land great blows on a girl who is turtled and offering only her sides and the back of her head while doing absolutely nothing offensive.

          That was a great ref job if you hate Finney or thought Silva stomping guys out was the pinnacle of the sport.

    • yukkurishiteittene says:

      That’s 145 for you.

    • Erik says:

      I completely agree with Kyle.Cyborg had -2400 odds.This is insane.I commented on a youtube video of this fight that it would be like Michael Jackson fighting GSP(according to the odds)I will give it up to Jan Finney,that girl is as tough as they come.

  4. grafdog says:

    Good job by that ref. She maintained control of the cage while rightfully stopping the action to deduct a point for the flagrant fouls.
    Asking a fighter… “do you want them up” is not necessary, but typically done by other refs. Like asking the fighter to “fight back or i’ll stop it” which maintains the rapport between ref and fighter.

  5. Robert Poole says:

    I completely disagree with the observation that this ref did a good job.

    The point deduction, asking if Cyborg wanted her up.. fine that was not an issue.

    Allowing Finney to get knocked down 4 times in the first round and especially the last two times where she was neither defending or really fighting back was atrocious. And then the ref was incredibly slow to stop it in the second when Finney took a ridiculously unnecessary pounding.

    Finney had a lot of heart and guts but she should have been stopped by the ref midway through the first round when she had no defense for the continuous beating she was receiving.

    When a usually fairly bloodthirsty MMA crowd is booing because they think someone has taken enough punishment and there should be a stoppage, you’ve obviously let the fight go on WAY too long.

    • yukkurishiteittene says:

      Cyborg was devasting standing, but she didn’t follow up. If anything it was like she was carrying her opponent. In that case, the onus is on the corner.

  6. Michael Rome says:

    I agree that the corner is far more blameworthy for letting her come out in the second round.

    • Robert Poole says:

      I argue that this shouldn’t have seen a second round at all. The Ref should have stopped it midway through the first. Not all corners are competent enough to stop the fight when it needs to be. Most fighters will never ask for a fight to be stopped if they can avoid it. However she was not fighting back much of the time and was taking a sustained beating that repeated itself in sequence over and over and over. The Ref has an obligation to protect the fighter as well and she let it go way too god damn long.

      The corner, no doubt was negligent in their duty to stop it but the ref could have done it at any point and Finney had no way to defend or protect herself adequately from the second knockdown on.

      • yukkurishiteittene says:

        Defend herself from what?

      • edub says:

        “Not all corners are competent enough to stop the fight when it needs to be.”

        To me that shouldn’t be an argument. A corner has two jobs: To help a fighter make in ring/cage corrections during fights, and to protect their fighter when they can no longer protect themselves. That is why the corner has the option of stopping the fight.

        • Robert Poole says:

          Ultimately though the corner doesn’t have the final say, the Ref does. (See: Yuri Foreman vs. Miguel Cotto)

          The Ref was there watching this girl get beat down continuously and not really having a serious shot at protecting herself or for that matter being in the fight at all. The Ref’s first obligation is to the health of the fighter. Above anything else, including allowing a spectacle for the fans to enjoy. This was clearly her duty here and she clearly failed.

        • edub says:

          That’s the exception more than the rule. No one agrees with Mercante’s decision to keep the fight going after the towel came in. If the corner threw in the towel Kim would have stopped the fight.

          “This was clearly her duty here and she clearly failed.”

          That is your opinion, and you are entitled to it. SHe was fine when the round ended and as Jordan Said landed her best punch of the fight in the second round. When a fighter fights as wide open as Cyborg does the other fighter always has a shot. IMO this is getting blown out of proportion because it is a female fighter.

          However, I don’t think your opinion is dumb at all(or however Jordan put it). At least half the people I was watching with thought it should’ve been stopped, so I don’t think your opinion is dumb at all. It just differs from my own.

          It still wasn’t the most gruesome activity of the night. Frank Shamrock’s “I Love Myself” ceremony took the cake on that.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    Cyborg isn’t that great. An yet nobody is her equal. Not even close. Watching that fight was cringe worthy.

    Women’s MMA has no business on the national scene right now. It had it’s chance. It failed let te talent energy at the local levels and if it is ever good enough, then they can bring it back to the national level.

    I thought the ref was in a tough position. Either way people would have complained. It certainly was not fun to watch.

    • yukkurishiteittene says:

      It’s 145. Tune into Bellator in August.

      • Nicholai says:

        Megumi Fuji is alot more intresting than Cyborg Santos.
        Bellator 1+ on Stikeforce in Woman’s MMA.

      • Chromium says:

        what yukkurishiteittene said. I don’t know that there are even ten female fighters that are a natural fit at 145, or even shoehorned in from one weight class above (see Erin Toughill and Yuko Yamanaka), that I would consider “quality” fighters. There is considerably more talent in the three weight classes below that though, and there were certainly far better opponents out there for Cyborg than Jan Finney, who was a complete mismatch. The state athletic commission should never have allowed that match to even happen.

    • edub says:

      The opponent was 8-7 in mma before this fight.

      Jan Finney just didn’t belong in the same cage with Cyborg. I will be very interested if Strikeforce can finally put together Cyborg vs. Toughill.

  8. Chromium says:

    About the suggestion of a 9-6 round: that’s not possible under Unified Rules. 7 point rounds are the minimum unless you also get points taken away for fouls. You’d think someone like Jordan Breen should know this.

  9. How the hell does Breen know whether or not Finney’s been altered by the fight? It just happened and she took a beating. Arguing that its not like boxing is accurate: In boxing, when a fighter is knocked down, they aren’t beaten continously while turtled up as Finney was. I guess its better that she wasn’t given an opportunity to recover while continuing to take shots to her body and head?

    Finney was out of the fight a minute in. Who the hell is anyone kidding?

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