The Fury FC 76 main event went viral this weekend, with referee Frank Collazo being in the middle of one of the worst stoppages in MMA history.
DWCS veteran Edgar Chairez locked in a triangle choke that put his opponent Gianni Vazquez to sleep, but despite the commentators and other people cageside screaming and pointing it out, the official allowed the fight to continue. Referee Frank Collazo let an unconscious fighter get choked for about 20 seconds, and then allowed the still unconscious fighter to get armbarred for another 20 seconds until he woke up to an injured arm and tapped.
After the horrific scene, commission spokesperson from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation released a generic statement.
“TDLR is aware of concerns about the officiating in one of last night’s fights. All TDLR officials receive ongoing training and we monitor each fight for consistency in officiating,” their statement read. “Fight officials for each competition are always selected in conjunction with promoters.”
TDLR is aware of concerns about the officiating in one of last night’s fights.All TDLR officials receive ongoing training and we monitor each fight for consistency in officiating.
Fight officials for each competition are always selected in conjunction with promoters.
— Texas Fights (@TexasFights) March 25, 2023
Seemingly unhappy with some of the weight being put on them, Fury FC also followed up with their own statement and distanced themselves from the idea that they “select refs for our shows.”
“It is the referee’s job to protect the fighter when the fighter cannot protect him or herself. In last night’s main event, the referee failed to do this. While the job of a referee is one of the hardest to do in this sport, the need for proper and continued training would help to alleviate things like this incident,” Fury FC officials wrote on social media.
“We do not hire, train, or select refs for our shows, but we would be more than willing to lead a revamp and overhaul of the reffing and judging selection and training process.”
During the broadcast, both commentators were heard screaming at referee Collazo to stop the fight, with them also stating that the cageside physician was also doing the same. Apparently, Vazquez’s corner was also among those trying to stop the fight.
According to the veteran MMA coach Colin Oyama, a commission inspector blocked his repeated attempts to have the fight stopped. He says instead of just throwing the towel to get a corner stoppage, he even threw in a water bottle, but his efforts went ignored.
Vazquez’s second suggests he might have ‘possible fractures in his elbow joint’ following the neglectful stoppage last night. pic.twitter.com/wwi4EDOmsT
— Erik Magraken (@erikmagraken) March 25, 2023
“This ref needs to lose his job. And also the idiot inspector in my corner who refused to stop the fight even after I asked him to intervene and told him that my guy was out. Because of the stupidity of these two, my fighter may have possible fractures in his elbow joint according to the ER that we went to,” Oyama wrote on social media.
“It’s always funny how Athletic commissions are always warning us to act accordingly and show them the respect that they deserve 3? Respect? The only thing these two commission guys deserve is to get fired. I had to watch my kid get his arm snapped off, while neither of you did a damn thing, hell I even threw a damn water bottle in there to try and stop the fight. Just because you work for the athletic commission doesnt mean you are above reproach. You both need to be held accountable for your stupidity.”
Vazquez also confirmed being diagnosed with a “potential fracture” and “some ligaments damaged” in his statement from social media.
Combat Sports lawyer Erik Magraken also pointed out how corner stoppages are technically a foul under Texas rules, but inspectors are supposed to be the ones that stop the contest.
In Texas a corner cannot throw a towel. Telling the inspector to stop the bout is the move.
If the inspector truly blew off the request then the AC has to act. Not acceptable to let this slide.
— Erik Magraken (@erikmagraken) March 25, 2023
Oyama called for the referee and inspector to get fired, after their “stupidity” caused a serious and avoidable elbow injury to Vazquez.
If it’s true that the cornermen and ringside physician were all trying to stop the contest, but the referee and inspector still failed to do their jobs, then the commission truly has a lot of errors to be accountable for. It remains to be seen if they’ll actually act and take responsibility though.
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