Barely 18 months ago, Chris Weidman was the UFC’s middleweight champion. Now, after his controversial defeat to Gegard Mousasi inthe c0-main event of UFC 210 in New York on Saturday night, he sits on three successive defeats and uncertainty as to his future in the division he once ruled.
When the unified rules of mixed martial arts were amended at the start of this year, some said that it was only a matter of time before the newly-instituted guidelines which govern mixed martial arts would cause consternation in the cage. It finally happened on Saturday night.
Weidman was struck by two knees to the head from Mousasi while in the front headlock position, the first of which would have been considered a knee to a downed opponent prior to January 1st of this year. Among the litany of amendments to the unified rules, a fighter is now not considered to be a downed opponent unless he has both hands touching the canvas — which doesn’t appear to have been the case in either of the Mousasi knees which connected.
As if to underline the confusion, referee Dan Miragliotta halted the action and told Weidman he had five minutes to recover. Doctors were called into the cage and, despite Weidman’s ultimate protestations, the fight was called and Mousasi declared the victor by TKO.
Weidman, obviously livid with the decision, voiced his opinion as to why he felt the decision was unfair but in the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White clarified the situation.
“The commission didn’t explain anything to me but basically, the referee made a mistake”, White said. “Weidman was in a very unfortunate position where he was told he has five minutes so he’s laying on the ground and at the end the doctor say, ‘I can’t let this guy continue’.
“Here’s the thing: you gotta be on your toes and you gotta be ready to go. Many times, even in great states like Nevada, not only are you battling your opponent, you’re battling the ref and the judges and anybody else who has any type of power in the fight. If you ask yourself if Weidman could have come back from that… He said, ‘I’d been in worse positions than that’ but it looked like he was in a real bad position right there and that’s the way the fight was going to go, but who knows?”