"I screwed up" - When referee Yves Lavigne admitted to making a "rookie mistake" in horrible late stoppage for Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell

Yves Lavigne apologizes for poor officiating of Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell [Photo credit: ufc.com and @YvesLavignemma on Twitter]
Yves Lavigne apologizes for poor officiating of Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell [Photo credit: ufc.com and @YvesLavignemma on Twitter]

Referee Yves Lavigne found himself at the center of controversy when he caused one of the most notable cases of a late stoppage during the Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell fight at UFC 96 in March 2009.

After the fight, Yves Lavigne acknowledged that he made a terrible mistake by allowing Sell to absorb unnecessary punishment and forcing Brown to go after a defenseless foe. During a post-fight interview with Around The Octagon, the referee apologized for his mistake, saying:

"I screwed up. There’s not much to say. I screwed up the fight. I made a rookie mistake at the beginning and stopped it way too soon. I kind of restarted the fight. It wasn’t over at that point and I made the decision to look like a fool and say ok, keep going. I may have deprived Mr. Brown of an early victory but we’ll never know because of me."

He added:

"I feel really bad. Fighters deserve the best. Instead of talking about Mr. Brown's great win, people are talking about a ref. Mr. Brown won with athleticism and tools he has and I’m taking the spotlight away because of my mistake. I feel really bad about it. He deserves better. He worked hard for that win."

Yves Lavigne's crucial mistake during Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell

Within the first minute of the fight, Matt Brown caught his opponent with a huge right hand, sending Pete Sell to the ground. 'The Immortal' was about to follow up with some finishing strikes when Lavigne jumped in to save Sell from taking further damage.

However, the referee apparently changed his mind and let the action continue after intervening. Confused, Brown turned to Lavigne, who confirmed that the fight was still on. The Ohio native appeared to be frustrated by the referee's decision.

It was clear that Sell still hasn't recovered from Brown's initial right hand, but the "go ahead" signal forced 'The Immortal' to go after his opponent. The Ohio native nailed Sell with a couple of knees to the body and sent him crashing back down to the canvas.

Watch Yves Lavigne's controversy during Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell:

From there, Brown landed several unanswered shots to the head, but Yves Lavigne allowed the action to continue. Sell showed tremendous heart by trying to stay in the fight. He was too out of it to defend himself, though. It wasn't until he fell over due to fatigue that Lavigne was forced to call for a stoppage.

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Edited by Dave
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