On top of a heap of controversy, UFC featherweight Josh Emmett is dealing with a serious injury suffered in his second-round knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens (highlights here) at last night’s (Sat., Feb. 24, 2018) UFC on FOX 28 from Orlando, Florida.
Following a chaotic ending where Emmett was dropped by a huge left hook from “Lil’ Heathen” and then hit with an arguably illegal knee and what appeared to be two incredibly brutal, illegal elbows to the back of Emmett’s head, Emmett’s Team Alpha Male revealed he was planning to appeal the loss after his head coach Urijah Faber blasted the non-call on social media.
Emmett is currently dealing with some potentially more serious ramifications from the strikes in question, however, as ESPN’s Brett Okamoto stated that Emmett’s team told him after the fight that the featherweight had suffered three harrowing fractures in his orbital bone as a result of the controversial finish:
Per his team, Josh Emmett suffered three fractures to his orbital bone tonight. This sport is no freaking joke.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 25, 2018
To no one’s surprise, Stephens defended himself and the finish during the card’s post-fight show, saying that the knee was legal because Emmett took one hand off the ground even though it’s illegal to knee any opponent whose knees are down on the mat and offering the view that Emmett turning his head in the heat of battle made it impossible to call the split-second elbows illegal.
Video replay – something was not available to referee Dan Miragliotta during the bout – showed that the elbows absolutely hit Emmett in the back of the head, but it’s unknown if those were the blows that injured Emmett so badly.
It very well could have been the two fight-ending shots that were straight to his face that broke his orbital, but regardless, Emmett was seriously hurt and the blows seemed unnecessary, so the UFC Orlando main event will remain shrouded in controversy.
No ref is perfect, but the rules may need to be reviewed if fighters continue to be injured following illegal moves that, at the very least, should at least justify a break in the action.
What was your take on the controversy currently swarming MMA today?