Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva seems to think referee Mario Yamasaki is the primary reason he was defeated by Cain Velasquez at UFC 160.
After dropping Silva with a cross, Velasquez followed up with multiple, unanswered ground strikes, which forced Yamasaki to call a halt to the action 81 seconds into the first round.
Through a translator at the post-fight press conference, Silva accused Velasquez of landing illegal strikes to the back of his neck. He even stated that Yamasaki should be penalized for stopping the fight too soon and allowing the illegal blows to continue.
I do agree that the fight was stopped too early. My way of thinking is that the same that applies to athletes who are penalized when they do something wrong or illegal should also apply to referees when they do something wrong. They too should be penalized. I don't want to say too much. I'd rather you each just watch the fight playback. It's clear watching it that I took several illegal blows to the back of my neck.
Did Yamasaki's "boo-boo" cost Silva the UFC title, or is the heavyweight contender just expressing sour grapes over another first-round loss to Velasquez?
From this perspective, Velasquez's ground strikes were legal blows to Silva's ear, and the stoppage by Yamasaki was justified.
There were a couple of strikes that managed to land directly on the back of Silva's head, but these shots had more to do with Silva going limp and his body's sudden change of direction. After the two accidental blows, Velasquez immediately goes back to punching Silva's ear before Yamasaki steps in.
A quick loss in such an important fight is a tough pill to swallow for any fighter. Yamasaki clearly isn't at fault for Silva losing. It is the duty of every professional fighter to understand the concept of "intelligently defending yourself." If you aren't moving or making any attempt to shield yourself from punishment, the referee will step in and stop the fight every time.
After going limp from the ear shots, Silva made no attempt to shield himself from Velasquez's punches.
It would be ludicrous to put all the blame on Yamasaki, especially after seeing Silva lose to Velasquez in similar fashion a little over a year ago.
The conspiracy theorists can debate amongst themselves about the refs being out to get Silva, but the stat sheet tells a story of its own. According to MMAFighting's Mike Chiappetta, Silva has landed a total of five strikes in two fights with Velasquez.
Could it possibly be that Velasquez is just the better fighter?