The referee who was in charge of a bloody mixed martial arts fight at UFC Fight Night 125 on the weekend has spoken out about his decision-making in the bout where he allowed the fight to continue despite safety concerns for one of the fighters.
Mario Yamasaki said in a statement after the co-main event between Valentina Shevchenko and Priscila Cachoeira on Sunday he wanted to give Cachoeira every chance to come back before stopping the fight.
"During the second round, I signaled to Cachoeira that if she didn't move I'd stop the fight, and every time I'd stop, I told her and she moved to try to escape from the punches.
"Unfortunately, I also can't control the number of blows thrown — again, when a fighter is trying to come back she's game."
Shevchenko dominated the fight from start until the submission finish late in the second round, with the UFC recording she landed 230 punches in just under two rounds compared to Cachoeira's three.
But Yamasaki said it was all part of the journey for Cachoeira.
"Fighters go through times of hard effort and dedication to be there. MMA is a contact sport and no fighter likes his fight to be stopped with no chance to revert the result.
"In my opinion, I allowed her to be a warrior and keep fighting. I could have stopped the fight in the second crucifix or in the mount, but she moved the whole time."
Yamasaki was heavily criticised by UFC boss Dana White for how he handled the fight between Shevchenko and Cachoeira.
"I am hoping after this scary, incompetent showing [Yamasaki] hopefully will never set foot in that Octagon again," White wrote after the fight.
Cachoeira received a potential six month medical suspension after the fight and is reportedly looking at surgery for tears in her ACL and meniscus.