UFC Referee Fired Mid-Event After Nearly Letting Fighter Die
On Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 135, Justin Gaethje cemented his reputation as one of the top contenders in the stacked lightweight division with a brutal KO win over James Vick.
The event also marked the final time Jake Ellenberger will compete in the Octagon after he retired following a loss to Bryan Barberena.
Unfortunately, one of the main talking points from the preliminary card wasn’t anything quite so spectacular.
In fact, we were potentially just moments away from the event forever living on in infamy as the first death seen in the UFC Octagon.
During a bout between longtime UFC veteran Iuri Alcantara and Cory Sandhagen, referee Cody Pfannenstiel let Alcantara take a prolonged beating while having seemingly no regard for the fighters wellbeing.
The had two engaged in a competitive back-and-forth fight during the first round with Alcantara hurting Sandhagen with a punch and coming close to finishing the fight with a deep armbar submission.
Sandhagen rallied, however, and reversed the position before dropping a plethora of elbows on his opponent to close the opening round.
A fantastic zinger by @jimmysmithmma by calling Brandon Pfannenstiel, the ref in the Sandhagen/Alcantara fight, Mario Yamasaki in disguise.@KarynBryant confirms that said referee will not be officiating any further fights tonight at #UFCLincoln
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) August 26, 2018
At this point, both men had taken their fair share of punishment throughout the contest but for Alcantara, it was about to get a lot worse.
As the fighters came out for the second round, Alcantara attempted a hail mary elbow that failed and left him on the ground.
From there, Sandhagen managed to control his opponent on the ground and unleashed a devastating torrent of punches while looking at the referee who was seemingly unwilling to stop the fight.
In the end, Alcantara took a total of 32 unanswered strikes from this position before the referee finally stepped in and stopped the fight.
Dana White clearly wasn’t happy with the referee’s antics and removed him from officiating any of the fights that night, and likely the UFC again.
While we all make mistakes on the job, the consequences of failing to intervene as a fight referee can be dire.
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