UFC middleweight Yoel Romero picked up his fifth straight win over Tim Kennedy at UFC 178’s “Fight of the Night”-winning bout tonight (Sat., September 27, 2014) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

However, it wasn’t without an extreme amount of controversy, as No. 6 Kennedy had No. 10 Romero in a massive amount of trouble at the very end of the second round, wobbling “Soldier of God” with several huge shots that had him wobbled and essentially out on his feet.

But Romero was saved the bell, and his corner came in to buy him some time to recover. Buy it they did, as they left the stool in the Octagon as the bell sounded, resulting in a 28-second gap as referee John McCarthy tried to gain control of the situation.

Yet the damage was done, as Romero came back and rocked Kennedy with a vicious one-two combination to drop the “Sniper” and finish him with a torrent of violent ground and pound. After the fight, a bruised and bloodied Kennedy confronted Romero with the rule that if you can’t answer the belt, you lose by TKO (courtesy of Vine):

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Kennedy may have a good point, as Romero seemed to not really know where he was in between rounds, but he was given a ton of extra time to recover from Kennedy’s second round onslaught.

True, he came back and blasted Kennedy with an impressive come-from-behind victory, but obviously the issue was whether or not he should have been allowed to do so in the first place.

From the look of things, it seemed like his corner new exactly what they were doing.

This wasn’t their first time cornering a professional MMA fight, and they knew when they had to have the stool out of the cage, yet they appeared to purposefully leave tit there so Romero could have a few precious seconds to find his bearings. Any time at all was priceless in that pivotal moment, and Kennedy may have thought that Romero was more hurt than he actually was in the third round.

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Regardless, it was an extremely shady instance that should no doubt be reviewed by the NSAC, and Kennedy plans to appeal the decision. His co-manager Nick Palmisciano told MMA Junkie that Romero could not answer the bell and should be disqualified:

“The guy couldn’t answer the bell. And he admitted in the interview he couldn’t get up. Pretty sure that’s a DQ.”

For his part, Kennedy detailed what he believed that Romero’s corner did illegally:

“If you can’t get off the stool in a minute the fight is over. Not a minute and a half, not two minutes, not two and a half minutes while your coaches are still putting Vaseline on you and toweling you off. That fight should’ve been over, period.”

The Army Ranger then cited the official NSAC by-law concerning the situation: 

Kennedy has a good point from that literal interpretation of the scenario.

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Perhaps the fighters should rematch to see who can win when without controversy.

Dana White called Romero’s corner’s antics “the dirtiest trick in the book” at the UFC 178 post-fight press conference, and touched on the fiasco after the fact (courtesy of UFC on FOX):

NAC Commissioner Francisco Aguilar was quoted as saying that Kennedy most likely did not have enough to win an appeal, so we’ll just have to wait and see the end result of this strange bout.

Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie for USA TODAY Sports