In a rare move, Cole Miller has decided to dispute his decision loss to Manvel Gamburyan at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston Saturday night.
Miller is not contesting the judges' decision, though one might believe he ought be inclined to do so. Instead, Miller is contesting that the extended break for Gamburyan between Rounds 1 and 2 renders the remainder of their featherweight bout moot.
Near the end of Round 1, Miller struck Gamburyan twice in the head with legal elbows. Gamburyan was visibly shaken and refused to stand or return to his corner. In a display of apparent incompetence, referee Yves Lavigne allowed Gamburyan an additional 70 seconds following the elapse of the one-minute mandatory corner break between rounds.
Mike Chiappetta and FoxSports.com report that Miller and his team found the extra time awarded to his foe an unfair and illegal advantage:
"It was just real odd," Miller told Fox Sports. "The referee didn't give any indication the fight was over, he also didn't signal it was a foul. I looked at Manny and then the ref to see what was going on. I had my hand on Manny in a sportsmanlike way to sort of encourage the process and get things moving.
"A referee doesn't have to say if a strike is legal, a referee has to say if a strike was illegal," he continued. "No indication was made, but after the fight, the strike was deemed legal. The referee said it was a legal strike. To me, I've seen the footage and they all seem to indicate a legal strike."
Miller does have a reasonable case. Since the strikes were indeed deemed legal, the referee should have demanded Gamburyan either answer the start of the second round or forfeit the match. Given Gamuryan was not ready within the mandated 60 seconds, the proper outcome would be a TKO victory for Miller.
Miller's team has since indicated it plans to put forth a motion for appeal for the September 12 meeting of the Massachusetts state athletic commission. However, Miller has his doubts the case will bring any positive outcome.
"You see these types of things happen often, and very rarely does it go to the fighter making the dispute,” he said.
"I just know that fighters can't get two minutes between rounds because they can't answer the bell when their head hurts due to a legal strike. That's not the way the rules work. I can only hope that they see it my way."