Mariusz Domasat, the referee who was in charge of the fight that resulted in the death of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho, has insisted he stopped the contest at the right time.
Carvalho fought Charlie Ward in a welterweight bout in Dublin on Saturday, and Ward defeated him in the third round via TKO.
The Portuguese fell ill after the event and later died in Beaumont Hospital. Referee Domasat has insisted he followed the correct procedures on the night, per the Irish Daily Star (h/t the Irish Independent):
If you watch the fight you see clearly there was no reason to stop the fight earlier.
I stopped the fight when there was a reason to stop the fight, when the fighter wasn't willing to fight anymore, that's it.
Everyone who has any idea about MMA knows the fight was stopped at the exact proper time.
I am an experienced referee and part of the Irish Amateur Pankration Association of Safe MMA and I know what I am doing.
Despite these claims, Domasat has come in for some criticism for the way the end of the fight was handled.
One of those critics is the most high-profile figure in the sport at the moment, Conor McGregor, who was ringside to take in the action and support his team-mate Ward.
“Thought it could have been stopped a little earlier,” he said, per MMAConnectTV (h/t Simon Rice of the Independent). “I feel these referees need to be on the ball a little bit.”
Ward himself was also apparently aware the bout should have been called off earlier. According to his father, Charles Ward Sr., in the final round he had eased off substantially.
"Charles told me there was no way he was hitting him hard in the last round, he knew he had him beaten," said Ward to local media (h/t Daniel Lane of the Sydney Morning Herald). "The referee should have stopped that. … He didn't go out to kill anyone. It's just one of those things. He went out to win his fight, but the referee could have been in a bit quicker as far as I'm concerned.”
A similar incident occurred in a boxing bout last month between Chris Eubank Jr. and Nick Blackwell, with the former landing some heavy shots on his opponent before the ringside doctor ended the fight.
During a round break, Chris Eubank Sr., a former world middleweight champion, stepped into the ring to advise his son not to strike his opponent’s head anymore and was staggered as to why the fight hadn’t been stopped by the official. Blackwell suffered a bleed on the skull and was placed in an induced coma, but he has since started his recovery.