Brazilian mixed martial arts referee Mario Yamasaki is coming under heavy criticism following his bad reading of the flyweight bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Priscila Cachoeira. The 53-year-old, who is a veteran of over 400 fights in the UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, EliteXC and Pride Fighting Championships, didn't stop the fight and allowed Shevchenko land some unnecessary punches on Cachoeira, even after she floundered on the canvass.
It was Cachoeira's first ever fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and now will have to go under the knife following a rough UFC debut where she had to endure more than 200 punches and elbows over the course of the fight.
The UFC and MMA asked for the clarification from the referee on his lack of judgement inside the Octagon, and the Brazilian responded, admitting that he could have stopped the fight on several occasions - when Shevchenko had the mount and also the second time Cachoeira was trapped in a crucifix. He also discussed the criticism he’s received online, including Dana White’s Instagram post.
Here is the statement:
During the second round, I signaled to ‘Pedrita’ 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. 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 Pedrita 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. I also recognize that I should have stopped when she tapped the first time to the rear-naked choke. I only stopped a few seconds later. About other people’s opinions, it’s their right to say.