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UFC News: Yair Rodriguez regrets how the fight with Jeremy Stephens ended, gives his opponent the ‘benefit of doubt’

  • Rodriguez is sad about the eye-poke, but is willing to move on. #UFC #MMA
Anwesha Nag
CONTRIBUTOR
News
Modified 23 Sep 2019, 14:27 IST

Jeremy Stephens eye-poked by Yair Rodriguez
Jeremy Stephens eye-poked by Yair Rodriguez

Fans present at the venue were expecting fireworks in the Featherweight bout between their homeboy Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens. But the crowd present at Mexico City Arena as well as those watching from home were understandably upset when the fight was called off due to an unintended eye-poke 15 seconds into the first round.

As it turns out, Rodriguez also shares their sentiment. In a post-fight interview, he expressed his regret and disappointment at how the fight, which had so much potential, ended with an accident.


What happened in the Octagon

Before the fight could even begin properly, Rodriguez’s flailing hand hit Stephens straight in the eye and the referee immediately intervened, stopping the fight for five whole minutes as per the rules. The doctor attended him as well. However, Stephens was unable to open his eyes at the end of the stipulated time and had to leave the stage wearing sunglasses, which led to the fight being announced a ‘No Contest’.

However, the fans at the venue were not very happy with the decision, and they made it known by throwing trash aimed at Stephens. Security had to escort him off the Octagon and to the backstage safely. 

Rodriguez talks about the eye-poke

“El Pantera” is not sure whether he should apologize for the eye-poke or not, since it was definitely not an intended one. However, he is most certainly sad about how the fight ended. But he is ready to give his opponent a ‘benefit of doubt’ regarding the situation

“I don’t know if I should say sorry about what happened. It wasn’t my intention to poke his eye. All the benefit of the doubt to Jeremy Stephens.”

It was evident from his actions while the fight was halted that Rodriguez wanted it to go on no matter what. A majority of the fans had gathered there to see him fight and win, or as Rodriguez put it, they wanted “a war". He said that he was willing to give them what they wanted. But unfortunately that is not how things unfolded, and despite being sad and disappointed about it, Rodriguez is trying to accept the fact and move on.

“Just the way that it finished, I didn’t like it. I pray a lot to God, and if this is the way that he’s showing me that this was the way, I accept it.”

Only time will tell whether the two of them will get a rematch or not in the future, once Jeremy Stephens recovers from the bad eye for good.

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Credits to MMA Fighting for the quotes.


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Published 23 Sep 2019, 14:27 IST
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