5 times a fighter blatantly cheated to win a fight in the UFC
As the old saying goes, “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying”. That isn’t always true of course, but in the world of the UFC, it’s definitely been the case on at least a handful of occasions. Regular UFC referees like Big John McCarthy, Herb Dean and Marc Goddard do an excellent job, but they’re only human and even they miss some big calls every now and then. And of course, that isn’t getting into the subject of cheating outside the cage with performance-enhancing drugs.
While it could be argued that a couple of the fighters on this list didn’t go out of their way to cheat, the way they won in these specific fights was definitely helped – or outright caused – by a break of the hallowed rules of the Octagon. Here are five times that a UFC fighter blatantly cheated to win inside the cage.
#1. Yoel Romero: vs. Tim Kennedy at UFC 178, 2014
Controversy has always followed former Cuban Olympic wrestler Yoel Romero throughout his UFC career, whether it’s the incident that saw him apparently soil himself during a fight with Derek Brunson, that interview after he’d knocked out Lyoto Machida in which he seemed to rant against gay marriage, or his positive test for PEDs following his win over Jacare Souza. Most controversial by far though was his fight with Tim Kennedy at UFC 178, otherwise known as ‘Stoolgate’.
Romero had taken the first round of the fight, but in the second Kennedy began to make a comeback, and with seconds to go, the Army Ranger landed a pair of uppercuts on the Cuban that seemed to knock him senseless. Romero went down, but ended up being saved by the buzzer, and was practically carried to his corner, where he slumped onto his stool. With ten seconds to go before the third round, Kennedy was up and ready...while Romero remained slumped.
As Kennedy’s corner protested, it appeared that the hold-up was due to ref Big John McCarthy demanding that Romero’s cornermen wipe some Vaseline off his body, but the Cuban’s crew were stalling on this, allowing their fighter an extra thirty seconds of valuable recovery time. And despite the rules stating that a fight should end with a TKO should a fighter be unable to answer the bell, McCarthy let it go and the round started late.
About a minute later, Kennedy was unconscious courtesy of a barrage of punches from a refreshed Romero. Kennedy’s corner – and the crowd – were naturally furious, but the win was allowed to stand by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. While Romero obviously didn’t try to cheat, his corner clearly did and it was their actions that allowed their fighter to pick up a massively important victory.