Mario Yamasaki may have issued a statement defending his decision to let clearly overmatched flyweight Priscila Cachoeira continue absorbing a never-ending beating from Valentina Shevchenko in the co-main of last Saturday night’s (Feb. 3, 2018) UFC Belem, but CABMMA, the commission presiding over the bout, doesn’t agree.
In a statement issued to MMA Fighting, CABMMA COO Cristiano Sampaio stated he had discussed the stoppage – or lack thereof – with Yamasaki, noting that while Cachoeira, who was making her UFC debut and suffered a serious knee injury early in the bout, demonstrated exemplary toughness, that should not interfere with a referee’s duty to call off a bout when a fighter is clearly not defending themselves.
Like most pro MMA fighters, Cachoeira insisted she would not have wanted her corner to throw in the towel even though she was out-landed by a gross margin of 230-3 total strikes. It was far from Yamasaki’s first transgression inside the octagon.
You can read the full CABMMA statement here:
The Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) has discussed the stoppage with referee Mario Yamasaki at the post-fight meeting held at venue with all of the officials assigned for the event. We made it clear all of our concerns regarding the incident.
Priscilla Cachoeira demonstrated toughness and heart during the two rounds but those are two attitudes that should not interfere or confuse the referee when it comes to stoppages. In the first round, in the last couple of minutes, it was clear that Priscilla could not defend herself efficiently nor technically. That reflected directly on the judges scores, all three giving it a 10-8. Round two was the same, but obviously with Priscilla not physically recovered enough from the previous round to demonstrate her chance against Valentina, the fight should have been called off right in the initial moments. And if the fight wasn’t called off, it would have been a clear 10-7, due to what we considered a overwhelming dominance and significant impact in the round.
As to the matchmaking, the fight was approved by CABMMA. If it was not well matched and that being evidently demonstrated during the fight, it should have been identified by the referee in charge, as he is the highest authority in that moment, whose role is to protect the fighter at all times including stopping the fight at the proper moment.
CABMMA understands that errors can occur from all aspects, but they should be recognized and corrected, to avoid similar cases in the future. And in a sport where the main concern is the fighter’s health and integrity, from the regulator’s standpoint we should do everything possible to minimize the risk of a scenario such as the one of this weekend.
Mario Yamasaki has been one of the best referees in MMA for the past decade and played a key role in helping our commission build the team of officials. We will discuss the next steps together and decide what is certainly best for all parts involved in the process.