One of the more unfortunate instances of official oversight negatively interfering with a fight’s outcome occurred Saturday night at UFC 123 in the main card bout between Gerald Harris and Maiquel Falcao. The first round of their fight was ended seven seconds early, while Falcao held Harris in a rear naked choke. With Harris wincing and Falcao having the choke in deep, it seemed a matter of seconds before Harris tapped or was put to sleep. That matter of seconds was taken from Falcao when the horn sounded early.
Many have speculated and concocted conspiracy theories surrounding the gross oversight, so former Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director and current UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner and UFC President Dana White spoke with MMAJunkie.com to give their opinions on the error and to clear up any conspiracy theories surrounding the incident.
“I’m currently talking with the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission,” Ratner said. “They were in charge of the regulation for the event.”
Ratner went on to explain that he ran across issues similar to these during his time as Executive Director of the NSAC and that this is a case of a mistake made by the MUCC and not a conspiracy.
“There’s no conspiracy,” Ratner said. “In my days as the director of the Nevada commission, there were rare instances of timekeeper errors.”
For his part, White believes that the early bell cost Falcao a first round submission victory.
“It’s crazy that the round ended early while Gerald was in that nasty choke,” White told MMAjunkie. “And Gerald Harris at the end of that first round was out if the timekeeper [expletive] it up by seven seconds. Another half of a second and that dude was asleep.”
Though White is clearly annoyed with the clock error, he is unsurprised that it occurred; saying that errors similar to that one happen at almost every event the UFC holds.
“But am I shocked that someone screwed up? No. Every event, there’s something,” he said. “The only thing you can do is just bum out and say, ‘It happened again.’ It’s unbelievable.”
How do you feel about the unfortunate timekeeping oversight? Vent your opinions in the comments section below.