By: Jesse Donathan
As BoxingInsider.com previously reported in, “Bellator 232 in Review: When Common Sense isn’t so Common,” Kevin Ferguson Jr., aka “Baby Slice,” scored a controversial 38-second KO victory over the weekend after raining down what appeared to be obvious illegal blows to the back of his opponent Craig Ferguson’s head. On Monday, reports surfaced that The Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation (MTDAR) has officially overturned the Bellator 232 knockout victory for Kevin Ferguson Jr. and deemed the bout a no contest (NC).
According to an October 28, 2019 Sherdog.com article titled, “‘Baby Slice’ Has Bellator 232 Victory Overturned Due to Use of Illegal Elbows,” author Tristen Critchfield writes that MTDAR president Mike Mazzulli notified Bellator president Scott Coker of the commissions intentions to overturn the original results of the fight.
Referencing the official MTDAR letter to Coker, Sherdog.com went on to report, “In the case of the above-referenced bout, upon review of the tape, we have determined that the injury that stopped the bout was the result of an accidental foul; elbows to the back of the head.” The author Tristen Critchfield went on to quote the commission’s findings as concluding that, “Since the bout was stopped in the first round of a bout scheduled for three rounds, we have determined that the result of the bout must be changed to ‘no-contest.’”
The Bellator 232 no contest ruling comes on the heels of another no contest ruling at Bellator 231, which aired the previous evening on Friday night, also hosted at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. As originally published in an October 25, 2019 EWrestling.com article titled, “Bellator 231: Jake Hager’s Third MMA Fight A “No Contest” Due To Low-Blows, AEW Represented At Show,” author Matt Boone writes that, “The third professional MMA bout of former WWE Superstar turned AEW wrestler Jake Hager ended in controversy.”
According to the report, “The fight was stopped less than two minutes after the action got underway due to Hager landing a hard groin shot on his opponent, the second for him in under 30 seconds.” Which unfortunately highlights a curious trend across promotional lines in mixed martial arts; athletes using otherwise illegal, prohibited techniques in the ring or cage to gain the upper hand over their rule abiding counterparts.
In August, former UFC two-division champion Daniel Cormier eye gouged Stipe Miocic in their championship title fight at UFC 241, itself a repeat of their first meeting at UFC 226 where Cormier again eye gouged Miocic shortly before knocking out the Ohio native to claim the UFC heavyweight title. After reclaiming the UFC heavyweight title in the rematch, Miocic reportedly underwent corrective surgery to restore his vision prior to a scheduled trilogy fight with the eye gouging Daniel Cormier in 2020.
And again, at UFC Fight Night 147 in March, welterweight Jorge Masvidal kicked opponent Darren Till in the groin before going on to knock the young British fighter out cold to cite just a small handful of cases in an increasingly regular occurrence in mixed martial arts competition. In a sport which was one governed with as few rules as possible, today athletes are routinely penalized for infractions that pale in comparison to some of the illegal techniques they are regularly given the benefit of the doubt over after already inflicting egregious bodily harm to their opponents.
Does the future of mixed martial arts exist in a sea of no contests and “unintentional” fouls as the referee’s all too often look the other way when their law-abiding contestants bare the true responsibility for their opponent’s illegal behavior? Interestingly, according to a Predictem.com article titled, “Boxing Betting Rules,” author Scotty L. writes that, “Results are decided in the ring on the date of the fight. In other words, any changes made to the result of a fight due to a failed drug test, a successful appeal, an incorrect scoring procedure, etc. will have no bearing.” The report goes on to state that, “The decision rendered at the conclusion of a fight is binding. Also, you have no recourse if you come out on the short end of a controversial result, regardless of how overt the incompetence or corruption of the officials was.”
The sum of which brings an entirely new perspective and plane of understanding to some of the most controversial topics in the combat sports entertainment industry today. With referee Bryan Miner having originally ruled the Ferguson Jr./Campbell fight a knockout victory for “Baby Slice” Saturday night, clearly dropping the ball on Ferguson Jr.’s use of illegal strikes to the back of his opponents head, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is whether or not anything else occurred over the weekend at Bellator 231 and 232 that the MTDAR may want to go back and take a second look at? With tribal lands traditionally being a place where MMA rules and regulations are fast and loose, its interesting to consider just how often Roy “Big Country” Nelson has found himself fighting at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Why is Terence Crawford Getting No love For His Next Fight?
By: Matthew N. Becher
We can all agree, Terence “Bud” Crawford (30-0 21KO) is one of the best fighters on the planet right now. He is a two division lineal champ, with impressive wins against the likes of Ricky Burns (in Scotland), Yuriorkis Gamboa (his first professional loss), Ray Beltran, Thomas Dulorme and Viktor Postol (also his first professional loss). Crawford is set to fight in the big room at the mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden next weekend, May 20th. Unfortunately, nobody even realizes that is happening.
Seriously, the promotion for this fight is non-existent. The Ring Magazine, WBC &WBO Jr. welterweight champion. The guy who is arguably the best American fighter today, fighting on the biggest stage of his career and people have no idea this is even on the calendar. I live in New York, and I haven’t seen one poster, heard one radio ad, nothing. What is going on with Top Rank?
Could it be his lesser known opponent that is the problem? Maybe, but probably not. Crawford fought guys like Dulorme and Hank Lundy and those seemed to have gotten more press then this fight against Felix Diaz. Is Felix Diaz unknown, sure, but he is a very good fighter. Diaz is a 2x Olympian who won the gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics for his native Dominican Republic. He sports an impressive record of 19 wins with only 1 defeat (which was a majority decision to Lamont Peterson) and he sports victories over decent foes, such as Granados, Bracero, and Sammy Vasquez. I personally don’t expect Diaz to win, but I do expect him to come in and turn this fight into a brawl, make it ugly for Crawford.
One week before the fight, this writer checked ticket prices on a well-known secondary market site and saw that you can get a seat for as little as $17.68. That is in the lower bowl, 100 level, section 111. That is a seat that would have been $250 for March’s fight between GGG and Jacobs. $17.68!?!?!?!? That is an insane price for a chance to see an Olympic Gold Medalist take on a top 3 pound for pound fighter. The undercard even has the east coast debut of future American star and Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson.
If anyone has the answer why Bud Crawford is getting no love, please let me know.
He is one of the sport’s most exciting fighters, he is a pleasure to watch. But for some reason, he is not getting the publicity that he needs and deserves.
Nicholas Walters Shocks The World…But Not In A Good Way
By: Sean Crose
I think it’s safe to say no one expected Saturday’s WBO super featherweight title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1) and Nicholas Walters (26-0-1) to end the way it did. Oh, most assumed Lomachenko would achieve the victory, but no one expected Walters to quit on his stool after the seventh round. This was the “Axe Man,” after all, the conqueror of Nonito Donaire. The man might not have had the skill of Loma as he walked into the ring at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas this weekend – but everyone knew he had the great equalizer known as punching power to go along with his own considerable skill set.
It didn’t matter. Not in the least. This was a world class shellacking. If there’s another, better, word for what transpired between the two undefeated fighters, I’m unfamiliar with it. Loma, the slick, disciplined, fast, aggressive boxer was far, far more than Walters could handle. Truth be told, the Jamaican was never really in the fight. He landed good to the body at times, but Loma’s relentless attack clearly frustrated Walters to no end. To be sure, there was no way Walters could keep up with his opponent. All he could hope is that some way, somehow, those shots to the body would wear Loma down.
That or he would somehow land a Sunday punch on the Ukrainian wunderkind.
Neither happened. And, in truth, Walters never fully allowed himself the chance to make them to happen. Why? Because he quit. Now, in fairness, the chances of the Axe Man pulling off the win were pretty slim. What’s more, he was being made to look second rate by Lomachenko, who was also being a bit of a jerk by openly rubbing it all in. Standing still with his hands down, waving in mockery between rounds…these tactics, freely employed by Loma, were most definitively not signs of good sportsmanship.
Was Walters right to just up and quit, however? There’s something about pulling a Roberto Duran that simply rubs people the wrong way. Indeed, there’s a difference between a person who quits on the stool during a serious physical beating and one who has simply had enough emotionally. The person who cares about his long term physical well being should suffer no shame. The person who simply doesn’t want to look silly, however…
Of course, all this is easy to say from the comfort of being behind a keyboard. In truth, no one really knows what was going through Walters’ mind except Walters. To be sure, Loma was starting to land hard on the man. A definitive end could have come quickly. Then again, Loma may have simply wanted to take sadistic pleasure from dragging the proceedings out. He wouldn’t be the first fighter to do such a thing.
Ultimately, however, a fighter should know that he or she runs the risk of such abuse when he or she decides to take up prize fighting as a profession. Those who embarrass easily might not want to engage in activity where they could get knocked unconscious in front of millions. Or be played with by a high level professional. It’s part of the hurt business that’s boxing. Or at least it is until you quit on your stool.