In the second round, Costa poked Vettori in the eye, leading to Herzog penalizing the Brazilian. The veteran referee said he had warned Costa multiple times not to outstretch his fingers.
Daniel Cormier, however, believes 'The Eraser' deserved to be cut some slack. Speculating why Herzog may have treated Costa "unfairly" in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, the former two-division UFC champion said:
"Now, here's the thing. The poke in the eye, I get it. But, when he got a point deducted, I thought to myself that Jason Herzog has been watching these headlines. Jason Herzog has been watching and paying attention to the story that's going around this fight because everybody hates Costa... he's like, playing the bad guy, all week. But when he took the point after one eye poke that really didn't look intentional to me, it told me that Herzog has been kind of following the headlines and he allowed for that emotion of Costa being the bad guy to make him go a little bit too fast."
Catch Daniel Cormier's comments in the video below:
After five rounds of back-and-forth action, it was Vettori who walked away victorious in the UFC Vegas 41 main event. The Italian won the fight via unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the contest 48-46 in his favor.
Daniel Cormier says Paulo Costa should have been given another warning
Daniel Cormier added that there have been instances where a referee didn't penalize a fighter for eye pokes that were much worse compared to what we saw last night.
No stranger to poking his opponents in the eye, Cormier said he never had a point deducted for an unintentional eye poke.
"We have seen much more severe eye pokes happen in fights. I've done it myself. I've poked guys more than this guy poked Marvin Vettori and didn't get a point taken away. As an official, you can't read the headlines... I think in this [fight], Herzog read the headlines and he may have judged Costa unfairly."