Stopping a fight is walking a real tightrope for officials. Do it too soon, and you’re cast down by everyone from fans right on up to UFC president Dana White. Too late, and those same fans and executives are at your throat just as enthusiastically.
UFC 146 had nine fights out of 12 end inside the distance with a referee jumping into halt the action. Let’s take a look at the (T)KO finishes from best to worst in terms of officiating.
This was a tough one to judge as it happened, as Miocic clobbered his man with short elbows that were doing damage despite the distance. From home it looked questionable, until del Rosario stood up and was visibly shaken by the beating he’d taken.
Yves Lavigne takes plenty of heat—often justifiably so—but in this case he got it right. Miocic celebrated his win while del Rosario wobbled about the cage in confusion. Definitely not an easy call, and even harder to make it correctly given the position.
That wasn’t Grizzly Adams knocking Dave Herman out with one punch, it was Roy Nelson.
To his credit, much-maligned referee Steve Mazzagatti did a great job to jump in and stop it when he did.
Herman buckled badly and went down, and pretty clearly had no idea what was going on when he rolled to his back. It’s not easy to stop a fight so early based on judgement, but this one was done the right way.
Mazzagatti again did a good job here, as the much-hyped Barboza was in deep trouble even if he didn’t realize it.
The underdog Varner was slamming him in the face all night with shots down the middle, and once he took it to the mat and had his man against the cage he began bouncing his head like a basketball.
Barboza didn’t like it, but he was done. Good stoppage.
Good stoppage by veteran referee Josh Rosenthal.
Hardy hit his vaunted lead hand hook and dropped Ludwig, who’s notoriously durable and incredible gifted on his feet. Rosenthal took a second to assess the situation when Ludwig pushed himself off the canvas a little, but when Hardy followed up on the ground it was over quickly.
About as good as you could ask for, though Ludwig did suffer a nasty gash from the follow-up on the ground.
It’s tough to call this one bad just because it was a title fight and you knew Herb Dean would be more likely to let things play out a little longer. Still, the time he elected to stop the bout was bizarre.
Mir was beaten all over the MGM Grand Garden Arena in the first, and looked just as bad in the second. It seemed like every time dos Santos got through with a punch, Mir was rollerskating on marbles.
A second-round knockdown led to Mir lazily trying to pull guard, eating one single hammerfist on the ground as he spun like an overturned turtle, before Dean stepped in to call an end to the night.
Not really awful, but strange given the way the fight played out to that point.
Velasquez decimated Silva from the opening bell, dumping him on the mat and flailing away from top position. His tireless workrate and pinpoint accuracy left Silva repeatedly eating big shots, and an elbow opened up a horror movie calibre gash across his brow and nose.
The oft-reliable Josh Rosenthal called in the doctor, who felt Silva could go on despite losing an absurd amount of the red stuff, so Rosenthal reset the fight and let it go. Silva was done soon after.