The main event of UFC Mexico met an abrupt end 15 seconds after it began. The promising matchup turned dramatic after the last blow was thrown.
Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens were scheduled to face each other in what would have been a promising slugfest. The two were just starting to trade blows when Rodriguez followed up his kick by raking the eyes of Stephens with his left hand.
Stephens immediately reacted in discomfort which prompted referee Herb Dean to step in and halt the fight to look Stephens over.
The fight would never re-start after the banned eye-gouge paused all action.
Unable to recover
Stephens was given time to let his eye relax a bit before attempting to open it and having doctors look at it. He was given the mandatory five-minute recovery period.
Dean also took control when the cageside physician entered, and let the doctor know that he gave Stephens a full five minutes to recover.
Five minutes later, Stephens is still unable to open his eye for examination. Dean had to call the fight after that.
The bout was officially ruled a no-contest. What made the decision controversial is that Rodriguez was not disqualified despite illegal move that prompted the end.
Rodriguez had “got me good,” Stephens said.
A ton of backlash
Fans began throwing trash into the cage after Dean waved off the bout. Members of the crowd also threw trash on Stephens, who was still still partially blinded after the incident.
“It’s not Jeremy’s fault, either. I’ve got to give him the benefit of the doubt ... I worked hard, very hard for this fight," Rodriguez explains. He stressed out how it wasn't his intention to gouge Stephens' eye.
“The only thing I can do is ask for your forgiveness and promise to be back, hard, and soon. Jeremy, I’m sorry. It wasn’t my intention,” Rodriguez pleaded.
Fans will definitely be waiting for the inevitable rematch between the two. Let's hope the ending would be very different from this disappointing one.
After the things Jeremy Stephens said pre-fight, do you think Yair Rodriguez did it on purpose? Is a rematch necessary? Tell us what you think.