It’s said time and time again that the referee is in the cage to protect the fighters, but when the referee doesn’t do his job, things can go terribly wrong. We saw that tonight at UFC 215, when Edmonton referee Kyle Gardner saw UFC fighter Gavin Tucker go out multiple times, then squirm back into consciousness only to take more damage. The fight could’ve been stopped on various brutal occasions, but for some reason, Tucker’s corner and the ref thought it was fine that he kept taking damage to his rapidly-swelling face for 15 minutes.
For some reason, the fight went to the judges, and now the Edmonton commission, the same Athletic Commission that oversaw the fight that led to the death of former UFC fighter Tim Hague.
Tucker was getting dropped early and often by his opponent Rick Glenn, but the fight continued on, even with the damage (which would likely have stopped the fight just about anywhere else) accumulating around his jaw and orbital. It was clearly becoming an issue, and yet, well into the third round they went, with Glenn beating Tucker without any fighting back.
Most terrible of all, Tucker’s girlfriend was in the stands, crying, watching the beating that seemingly would not stop until her boyfriend was unconscious or the bell rang.
There were multiple instances of Tucker turning his back and walking away from his opponent, who in turn walked him down to continue the beating, all as the ref looked on and his corner refused, for some reason, to throw in the towel. It was truly disgusting to see. MMA is not a sport that should go this far, and it hasn’t in thousands of fights. This is a black eye on the sport, and many journalists, UFC president Dana White, and fighters and trainers agree. This front kick to the face came after possibly 50 unanswered strikes.