On June 12, “UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin” took place at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nev. It was a great night of action that saw Rich “Ace” Franklin score a huge knockout victory over “The Iceman” and saw an exciting war between Pat Barry and Mirko Cro Cop end with a mind-blowing submission by Cro Cop.
However, the night was not without controversy, as the first televised fight of the night between Mac Danzig and Matt Wiman ended in what appeared to be a terrible mistake on the part of referee Yves Lavigne.
Early in round one, Danzig got a takedown and was on top of Wiman in his guard. From there, Wiman was eventually able to lock on a guillotine choke. After a few moments, referee Lavigne checked to see if Danzig was still conscious, he did not get the response he was looking for from Danzig and he stopped the fight, awarding Wiman the technical submission victory.
Immediately as Wiman let go of the choke Danzig rose up wondering why the fight was stopped. He was wide awake, obviously not unconscious, and had just lost a fight due to submission in which he neither tapped out nor went to sleep. Danzig protested the stoppage, but that was it, the call had been made.
For those who were watching the fight on Spike TV, commentator Joe Rogan said, “Matt Wiman talked him into stopping that fight.” Surely it would be a travesty if Lavigne called the stoppage just because Wiman said Danzig was out.
ProMMAnow.com spoke Thursday to the man who was in the cage that evening and made the call, referee Yves Lavigne. We wanted to hear from Lavigne himself to find out why he made the call and what influenced his decision. MMA referees do not have an easy job, and the calls they make in a fight can have implications upon a fighter’s career that lasts for years. Lavigne talked with us openly about what happened.