It’s tough to be a referee in any sport. One wrong decision could have terrible ramifications. That’s especially true in combat sports because your job is to keep the fighters safe. There’s nothing wrong than a late stoppage or failing to see a fighter tap out to submission. More on that later.
We’ve seen referees at the highest level make mistakes. Mario Yamasaki is the most notorious, but even the likes of Herb Dean and Big John McCarthy have all made errors and crucial points. You just have to suck it up and come back even stronger than before. Self-belief is massive.
However, that doesn’t make it any easier for a fighter affected by a situation like this. Check out the crazy situation below where an MMA fighter actually won, despite tapping out. In short, the referee made a massive mess of this scenario. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
— Mike Brown (@mikebrownmma) November 19, 2019
This was a monumental blunder by the referee. It happened at New England Fights 41: Collision Course. This east coast promotion combines a mixture of professional and amateur bouts on its cards. Caleb Austin was hoping to extend his amateur record to 3-0. However, it looked like his opponent had the better of him.
Ryan Fogg clearly had the advantage on the ground and got Austin in a guillotine choke. Despite his best efforts, Austin wasn’t able to defend against it and wound up tapping out. In a normal fight that would be the end of it, but not this time around. In fact, things just got crazier.
Fogg felt Austin tap and did what you’re taught to do in training. He released his opponent who also believed the fight was over. However, the referee hadn’t noticed that Austin had tapped out and signalled for the two men to keep battling. That’s when Austin caught Fogg with a sneaky takedown and the momentum of this fight totally changed.
He was able to mount his opponent and assert his dominance, raining down strikes on Fogg’s head. Fogg wasn’t defending himself properly and the referee finally tried to do his job properly. He intervened and Austin got the win. It was a shocking turn of affairs. The boos from the crowd say everything you need to know about this one.
We all make mistakes, but literally handing the other fighter a victory is worse than most. American Top Team Coach Mike Brown made the point that you’ve got to keep attacking until the referee stops you. However, it’s also tough on Fogg who literally did the right thing in letting Austin go.
As it’s an amateur fight there’s little chance of it being overturned to a no-contest. Austin is the victor and his unbeaten record continues. However, this definitely isn’t the way he’d have wanted it to go. If the young man wants to make it as a professional one day, then he’s going to have to work on his BJJ game. Was it poor sportsmanship or did he do the right thing?