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Kenny Florian Responds To Elbow Legality Questions

Kenny Florian has long been known for his vicious elbows, earning the nickname “Ginsu” during his stint on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.

His skills in that department have only improved since then and Florian put that on display in his recent featherweight debut against Diego Nunes. Florian hammered Nunes with elbows from different positions en route to his unanimous decision victory, but his opponent’s coach questioned the legality of his attacks shortly after the fight in an interview with

“Those elbows, the way I see it, for where they hit him, should be reanalyzed‚Ķ,” said Nunes’ coach, Andre Pederneiras. “I’m not taking Kenny Florian’s credits for the win, not at all, but I took some pictures of Diego’s head, and I want to send it to UFC, asking them if those spots are legal. I don’t want them to change the result of the fight, because Florian was better and earned it, but I want to know if it’s legal so that I can tell my students to do it. Sometimes the rules change and we lose a fight for a silly detail.”

In a recent interview with, Florian addressed the Nova Uniao head’s concerns.

“I saw the quote and I think something got crossed up in translation but it was obviously how I was throwing them (the elbows),” said Florian. “This is actually something I ask every ref before a fight. What does he consider a legal elbow and what is back of the head. Big John (who was the referee in that fight) is the standard for refereeing and what other referees try to be and we literally went over this for 5 to 10 min in the dressing room before the fight for what he considers legal or not. He is the best in the business and he would have said something if he saw something that was illegal during the fight.

“Often times, if a fighter moves his head after they have been hit straight on, they turn their head. This puts their head in danger, so they are putting themselves into danger by moving their own head. I don’t know if they are making excuses for the loss and I hope they aren’t. I know that Diego was holding the fence half a dozen times during the fight and I know for a fact that is illegal as he was warned numerous times during the fight.”