UFC 159: Terrible Refereeing Ends Gian Villante vs. Ovince St. Preux Early

McKinley NobleCorrespondent IApril 27, 2013

Ovince St. Preux may have won his UFC debut on Saturday at UFC 159 against Gian Villante, but it couldn't have looked any worse.

That's thanks to MMA referee Kevin Mulhall, who was given the task of calling the Villante vs. OSP preliminary bout yet stumbled every step of the way.

Unfortunately, that led to an early stoppage in the third round—off an eye poke.

After taking a hard thumb to the eye from St. Preux, Villante quickly dropped to his knees, prompting Mulhall to jump in and stop the match, despite not actually being in position to see the foul in the first place.

As Villante backed to the fence, Mulhall asked him if he could see, prompting a "no" from the former Strikeforce fighter.

Even though he had the option to call a doctor to the Octagon, Mulhall instead took Villante's words to mean he couldn't continue, waving off the bout at 33 seconds into the round.

Villante immediately pleaded with the referee, saying that he just needed time, but the damage was already done.

Both men were forced to suit up in their sponsors' ring gear and wait for the judges' decision, which came down to a technical decision for OSP.

It was incredibly odd, to say the least.

Up to that point, Villante was arguably starting to get into his groove after struggling against OSP earlier, with the former Strikeforce contender continuing to tire out as the battle stretched on.

Overall, it was a poorly officiated match, one that saw Mulhall fumble a few calls.

Notably, St. Preux was not penalized for grabbing the top of the Octagon fence to prevent an early takedown, and Mulhall also missed Villante's gloves coming unwrapped, which forced the fighter to call attention to it.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionPC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times.