Most people are on board with referee Marc Goddard’s stoppage of UFC 281’s headliner between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira. For Tristar Gym head coach Firas Zahabi, Goddard essentially saved Adesanya’s career from a potential scissor knee from Pereira that he said, could’ve been career-ending.
For his part, “The Last Stylebender” agreed with the stoppage but at the same time, he feels he should’ve been allowed to go out on his shield.
“My ego would say at least let me go out on my shield. But I don’t think I could’ve gone out ‘cause I was still there. I’ve seen worse stoppages. F—ng bring back Steve Mazzagatti,” Adesanya said during the post-fight media scrum early Sunday morning.
“Bring back Steve Mazzagatti, I would’ve been fine. He might’ve won that round, but I’d still be champion.”
UFC veteran Matt Brown was a recent guest on MMAFighting.com’s The Fighter vs. The Writer podcast and he shares the same sentiment.
“We don’t want to err on the side of caution. We’d rather get flatlined and be carried out on a stretcher. That’s just the risk that we’re willing to take. I understand with commissions and there are actual health practitioners that judge this stuff and watch it and politicians.
“There’s all these things in play that have an effect on this but us as fighters, I guarantee there’s not a single one of us that doesn’t want to go out on our shield or on a stretcher.
“We’ll die in there. We’re never going to say it’s too late. That’s kind of where I’m at with that. I’m with Izzy, bring back Steve Mazzagatti. Let’s let these fights just go. I like that he said that personally.”
If it were up to him, Brown would’ve let the action continue a little longer. The fight was stopped at the 2:01 mark of the final round, which meant Adesanya still had a little less than three minutes to try and survive while absorbing Pereira’s shots.
“I didn’t think it was a bad stoppage but I would have liked to see him let it go longer,” he explained. “I don’t hate that he stopped it the way that he did, the time he did but I would have liked to see it [continue]. If I was the ref, I would have let it go longer.
“The fact is I don’t think Izzy was getting out of there. I don’t think Izzy thought he was getting out of there. I don’t think anybody thinks he was going to get out of there but in this sport, we have seen crazier things.
“This sport just never fails to blow your mind. I would have liked to see him given the chance and I would have given him the chance but I also don’t hate the ref for stopping it when he did. I mean he was taking shots and when he did stop it, Izzy took a really, really hard shot.”
Adesanya’s record dropped to 23-2 after UFC 281.
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