I will admit that I have not personally seen the Aaron Riley versus Shane Nelson fight. But the controversy cause by the way this one ended is being well documented all across the Internet.
This marks the second straight UFC event that has had referee stoppages being questioned. Following the Josh Koscheck and Brian Cobb losses at UFC 95 by referee stoppages, the early end to the Riley versus Nelson bout will keep this topic alive for debate in the foreseeable future.
The standard is being called "Intelligently Defending Yourself."
If the referee deems that you are not protecting yourself or not making an effort to get out of a seemingly dangerous position, the fight will be stopped. Some referees tend to be a much better judge of this than others.
This is always going to be a hot topic amongst the media and all of MMA.
While it is not fair to a fighter to stop the match early if they are not totally out, how long does a referee wait before it becomes hazardous someone's health?
In the case of Koscheck, he looked like he was out before he hit the mat, but claims to have recovered enough to continue. Cobb was scooting backwards trying to avoid damage, but was not doing anything to deflect the onslaught of punched.
Both of those could be seen either way, but the referee has to make a snap decision on behalf of protecting the downed fighter.
The Riley stoppage seems to be the worst of the bunch. By all accounts, Riley was stunned, but not unable to continue. The crowd was definitely in Riley's corner about the premature stoppage.
I have read that even Joe Rogan threw out some expletives regarding how badly Riley got robbed.
This discussion will not go away anytime soon, but it should not be overlooked as it is a very important issue. I hope that the stoppages do not to come too quickly so as to ruin many potential great fights.
But don't stop them too late so that the violence becomes so horrific that the phrase "Human Cock Fighting" comes back into play.
This will always be a fine line to walk. Just praying for the good of the sport that all involve will tread lightly.