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Devil’s advocate on Dan Miragliotta at UFC 210 — ABC has fault for confusion on grounded fighters

By Zach Arnold | April 8, 2017

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There was a perfect storm of events heading into UFC 210 to create chaos in the Gegard Mousasi vs. Chris Weidman fight.

First, it’s Chris Weidman. There’s always something dramatic happening with him in or out of the cage. He came into the fight on a losing streak and was fighting for his career on home turf.

Second, Chris Weidman’s home turf is New York. The New York State Athletic Commission is still trying to learn the MMA industry. Plus, they’re one of the worst if not worst state athletic commissions in America for regulating combat sports. Which means there is even more pressure on UFC itself as an organization to try to figure out how to run the regulatory show with a bunch of incompetent, green regulators. See: Daniel Cormier weigh-in and Pearl Gonzalez breast implants.

Third, the California State Athletic Commission and their friends at the Association of Boxing Commissions pushed through new regulations to modify the Unified Rules of MMA. It’s created confusion. It’s created a split in the United States with several states not adopting the proposed ABC changes. This includes states such as New Jersey, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland and South Dakota.

This means that MMA referees who work shows in multiple states have to remember both the old Unified rules and the new Unified rules. Rather than build a full political consensus on having all states slowly modify the Unified rules, you have legalized anarchy that’s bound to create confusion even amongst the most experienced MMA referees in the business.

The biggest source of confusion between the old and new Unified rules deals with the definition of a grounded fighter. The old rules allowed fighters to protect themselves with a single finger on the ground. The new rules:

…now a fighter must have both hands down — palms or fists — or a knee or another part of the body besides the soles of his or her feet on the mat to be grounded.

Which leads us to the finishing sequence at UFC 210 for the Mousasi/Weidman fight. From MMA Junkie’s PBP of the event:

n the middle, Mousasi gets hold of Weidman and drills him with two knees while his hand is on the canvas – or so it seems. Miragliotta stops the fight and sends Mousasi to a neutral corner. Weidman will get looked at by the doctor. He gets five minutes. It looks like they may want to stop the fight. The replays show that the knees may have been legal. Now they’re consulting with the commission – and the fight is over. The place goes absolutely crazy with boos. It’s Weidman’s home state, he’s saying he can continue and wants to continue – and they’re shutting it down. It’s a TKO win for Mousasi – and the crowd is absolutely livid. Miragliotta made a mistake stopping the fight because the knees actually were legal. So when Miragliotta gave him time to recover, that was a problem. Weidman is pacing the cage during Mousasi’s interview, and he’s completely drowned out by the boos.

I am surprised that it took this long to see the fruits of confusion sewn over the definition of a grounded fighter.

If the knees were viewed to be illegal, Miragliotta should have taken point a point away from Mousasi while giving Weidman time to recover and return to action. Instead, there was a stoppage… and then the fight got stopped without Weidman having a chance to fight. Weidman is automatically appealing the decision and wants a rematch.

There are three points of future debate here for public consumption:

I don’t foresee any helpful changes coming any time soon to erase doubts or confusion.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

5 Responses to “Devil’s advocate on Dan Miragliotta at UFC 210 — ABC has fault for confusion on grounded fighters”

  1. Chris says:


  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Here in the North East…. It is well known amongst fight fans that New Jersey has the best A.C. in this area of the country. It is also well known that New York has easily the worst.

    New York is probably the worst “big state” for commissions. Texas is probably a close 2nd.

  3. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    DC’s blatant towel hanging was just the beginning of NYSACs ufc 210 circus act. Pretty bad show overall, the controversy kept me awake though. unlike the last few ppvs

    • 45 Huddle says:

      You have been buying them? I haven’t bought one since UFC 205 which was almost 5 months ago.

      The UFC has turned into garbage this year.

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    Right on cue, New Jersey goes after ABC and Andy Foster for the grounded opponent rule change.


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