30 Sep Tim Kennedy Still Fuming Over ‘Stoolgate’, Blasts Ref John McCarthy
Tim Kennedy was in the threshold of a fourth straight victory at UFC 178 and a possible title shot in the horizon but all of that went down the drain in a minute. Literally.
“The Sniper” rendered Yoel Romero out on his feet with a barrage of uppercuts at the end of the second round but the bell salvaged “Soldier of God” from the brink of defeat.
And then it happened.
As the signal to start round three buzzed, Kennedy was ready to go but Romero was still in his corner sitting on his stool. His team was still there and it took almost a full half minute for referee “Big” John McCarthy to take control of the situation and for Romero to get up and fight.
Thirty eight seconds later, the Cuban was pounding on Kennedy’s face like a bear tearing meat, leaving the two-time Strikeforce middleweight title contender a bloody mess. Of course, McCarthy stepped in at the nick of time and saved the American from further punishment except that Kennedy thought it should have been waived twice earlier in his favor.
“Man, I thought the fight was over twice,” the 35-year-old Kennedy said. “If anybody is to blame, it’s totally me for the outcome. Someone has to step up and be the bigger guy in all of this. Dana knows he cheated, the Nevada commission knows he cheated. His corner knows they cheated.”
“If he gets 28 seconds to recover, imagine if I had an extra 28 seconds at the end of round two. The guy wouldn’t be walking for a month. But no, John gave him an extra 28 seconds. I was gone, I wasn’t even mentally there anymore and that was a big mistake on my part. I thought the fight was over not once, but twice. So I rushed in and made a huge mistake. I was gone. I was thinking it was the end, I wasn’t even thinking about fighting.”
It’s impossible to tell how much difference 28 seconds would make but in Romero’s case, it’s apparently a lot. Romero went from literally stumbling on the way to his corner at round 2 to being the machine he was at the beginning of the round. It could also be pointed out that it was NOT the former Silver medalist’s corner that put too much Vaseline on Romero’s eyebrow but it was actually the UFC cutman, which added to the bizarre and controversial turn of events.
After the fight, the former U.S. Army sergeant tweeted an excerpt from the NAC ruling about not answering the bell to start a round.
NAC 467.728 If a combatant fails or refuses to resume competing when the bell sounds…the referee shall award a decision of TKO
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) September 28, 2014
Kennedy’s representatives are planning to push an appeal for the overturn of the decision despite NAC Executive Director Bob Bennett saying it’s highly unlikely the result would be overruled. Per Bennet: “I think the end result would have been the same,” indicating Kennedy’s chances of winning a protest as “slim to none.”
While Kennedy admits he was “super disappointed and pissed” with how things have worked out, he found an ally in UFC president Dana White. White did not go as far as endorsing a reversal but he (or the promotion) may have paid Kennedy his dues by adding a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus and a not-so-steep a drop in the rankings. Kennedy went from #5 to #7 while Romero leapfrogged four places from #10 to #6 as of the latest middleweight pecking order.
As gracious as Kennedy was for losing his focus after getting caught in the whirlwind of developments, he blasted McCarthy more on the way out.
“He (McCarthy) f…ed up majorly in my fight. For being the best ref in the world, he got owned that night by a bunch of guys doing shady things. He got played by all three of them. He just let it happen.”
Does “The Sniper” deserve a rematch or is he better off moving on from this one?
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