The main talking point following the UFC’s show last night in Belem has been Valentina Shevchenko’s brutal beatdown of Priscila Cachoeira in the co-main event of the evening.
Shevchenko, who entered the bout as a -900 favorite for good reason, outstruck Pachoeira 230-3 in a fight that didn’t even finish the second round. That said, this was a fight that could’ve — and should’ve been stopped earlier — maybe somewhere around the 50th or 60th unanswered strike.
Referee Mario Yamasaki has been taking some well deserved heat for not protecting Pachoeira after watching one way traffic repeatedly collide with her face for just under ten minutes. Here’s what UFC President Dana White had to say about the incident.
Priscilla Cachoeira, you showed so much heart and toughness in that fight. I’m honored to have you fight in the UFC. Unfortunately the ref is there to protect you and Mario DID NOT do that. This isn’t his first disgusting performance in the octagon. Another unfortunate thing is that i can’t do anything about I️t only the Brazilian commission can and i am hoping after this scary, incompetent showing he hopefully will never set foot in that Octagon again. Strikes landed was 230-3.
Pachoeira’s corner has also come under some scrutiny for not throwing in the towel to save their fighter as have the UFC matchmakers for putting this big of a mismatch together in the first place.
The fact of the matter is, this kind of gross neglect in a sport where the competitors are literally trying to put their opponent out is borderline criminal. The referee in charge has one job — that job is to protect the fighters. Yamasaki, who has been good in the past and has been bad in the past — was completely out to lunch here. Not only did he let the fight go on for far too long, he added insult to injury by letting Pachoeira tap multiple times before he finally stopped the fight. This was a slap in the face to mixed martial arts on the world’s biggest stage. I would certainly never call for anyone to lose their job, but I also never want to see Yamasaki referee again after this fight. That said, the problem doesn’t begin, nor does it end, with him.