MMA community enraged following controversial UFC Norfolk stoppage
UFC Norfolk is in the books, but a controversial stoppage to a high-profile bout has the MMA community upset.
A clash between European light heavyweights Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev was booked as the third main card bout for UFC Norfolk. Cutelaba, from Moldova, is an intense fighter, known for intmidating his opponents. At the weigh-ins with Russian Ankalaev things were already tense, and that tension continued up until and during the fight. The two almost came to blows before the fight even started, with Cutelaba marching over to Ankalaev while announcer Bruce Buffer was introducing them. Ankalaev grabbed Cutelaba, who was nearly face-to-face with the Russian, forcing security to intervene.
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When the bout started, Ankalaev landed a hard head kick, that seemingly had Cutelaba rocked. The Moldovan remained on his feet, however, blocking nearly all of Ankalaev’s kicks. While beginning to strike back, referee Kevin McDonald stopped the bout, much to Cutelaba’s rage. Visibly and audibly upset, Cutelaba protested the stoppage intensely, with much of the audience in attendance at UFC Norfolk agreeing with him, booing the stoppage.
While Cutelaba seemed affected by the strikes, remained on his feet and in the fight. Many in the MMA community took to social media to voice their displeasure afterwards.
Oooh… that’s a bad one. ?
— Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) March 1, 2020
Watching the replay I believe he WAS playing possum. Every time he got touched he looked away and went extreme wobbly legs to draw his opponent in and then quickly snapped out of it firing a bomb! #UFCNorfolk
— Alan Jouban (@AlanJouban) March 1, 2020
The referee called this one wrong!#ThisIsSucks
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) March 1, 2020
After the fight, Cutelaba explained that he wasn’t as rocked by the shots as McDonald thought, and that he was trying to set Ankalaev up for a counter. Many specualted that Cutelaba would appeal the stoppage at UFC Norfolk, which he later confirmed via social media.
“First thing monday morning we will be talking to the comission to make the apeal,” Cutelaba wrote. “Hopefully they see What all fans watching tonight saw and correct this injustice.Thank YOU for your suport!”
It remains to be seen how the commission resolve the matter.