Following Brock Lesnar’s come-from-behind victory over Shane Carwin at UFC 116, questions immediately erupted regarding whether referee Josh Rosenthal should have stopped the fight during Carwin’s vicious 1stRound onslaught.
Rosenthal appeared as a guest on the latest edition of ESPN’s ‘MMA Live’ to discuss how close he came to stopping the highly anticipated match-up and why he ultimately decided to let it continue.
“In the 1stRound, [Lesnar] took some hard shots. When they were against the fence he was looking for a way out, he was blocking some punches,” said Rosenthal. “At one point, he tried to spin to push Shane away and took a couple of shots.”
It wasn’t until the champion collapsed into the fetal position when the referee seriously considered ending the bout.
“When he curled up after, that is when I commanded him to fight back,” Rosenthal continued. “At which point he did and that’s when he went for feet on the hips and pushed Carwin away and got to his knees.
“He responded to my commands.”
In typical classy Carwin fashion, he didn’t blame the ref’s decision and is hoping to earn another crack at the title down the road. Lesnar, on the other hand, expressed a tremendous amount of gratitude for Rosenthal’s leniency during the opening stanza.
“I really have to thank the referee for allowing that thing to go on,” Lesnar stated at the post-fight press conference.