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Referee Steve Mazzagatti Defends Point Deduction Issued Against Brock Lesnar

There is no denying the fact that Frank Mir took a substantial beating in the early part of the first round at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Lesnar came out at Mir as if shot out of a cannon and quickly had Mir on his back, feeding him a heavy diet of explosive hammerfists.

Mir appeared hurt and overwhelmed to the point that when Referee Steve Mazzagatti stepped in, many thought it was to save him from further damage and award a TKO victory to Lesnar. Instead however, Mazzagatti issued Lesnar a one point deduction for striking Mir in the back of the head. The stoppage drew heavy criticism from mma fans who believe that the deduction was both unwarranted and gave Mir the necessary time needed to recover from the damage he’d sustained before the stoppage, thus altering the outcome of the fight. Mazzagatti sat down with MMAJunkie to discuss the matter and give his opinions on the fight and the controversial deduction.

Mazzagatti On Why He Issued A Point Deduction Against Brock Lesnar:

These fighters are extremely skilled fighters, and a grappler like Frank, that’s what they’re trained to do: when you have a guy in half guard on top of you, you don’t want to give the guy room to punch. So that was Mir’s defense. You suck up close to (your opponent’s) chest, tuck yourself up under them, and that covers you from getting hit. At first, Brock started to do the right thing by winding up with the hook from behind and pushing Mir’s head away from his stomach. Then you can blast him in the face… but to have to worry about getting struck in the back in the head in a situation like that isn’t something Frank should have had to worry about. But that was a target that presented itself to Brock.

Mazzagatti On If He Tought The Strikes To The Back Of The Head Were Intentional Or Not:

I don’t think it was through any fault of his own. It was just there for him, so he started coming down with that hammerfist. But the back of the head is not a target you can take. And honestly, we see it all the time.

Mazzagatti On Whether Or Not He Issued Lesnar A Warning:

Yeah, I did. Brock’s excited. It’s a big, big opportunity for him, and — in my opinion — he looked down and saw the head there, and he took three shots at him and caught him. I jump in and say, “Don’t hit at the back of the head.” A few more seconds go by, Mir tucks up under there again, and Brock comes down with the second couple hits to the back of the head. That’s when I jumped in and had to do my job. That’s what I saw. I can’t say that he heard it. I yelled it loud enough for them to hear. It was awfully loud. I yelled it, though. I’ve got kids, so I know how to yell. [laughs] I used to be in a rock band, so I’ve got some lungs.

To read the rest of this interview with much more from Steve Mazagatti, click here.