An interesting finish came out of Friday night’s Strikeforce Challengers 18 card, as fast-rising prospect Ronda Rousey earned a verbal submission in her bout with Sarah D’Alelio.
But, by the way D’Alelio reacted, it seemed as if she had done nothing of the sorts in submitting to a tight armbar.
Referee Steve Mazzagatti – who has been involved in several questionable calls and has been the victim of many (UFC President) Dana White Twitter rants – stepped in after Rousey said she heard D’Alelio submit.
In post-fight interviews conducted live on Showtime, D’Alelio said she muttered some words as the submission was being put on, but she said not once did she say submit.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker defended the actions of both Rousey and Mazzagatti.
“I think that it was a good call,” Coker said. “What I saw was a very explosive athlete that reminds me of somebody else we have in our division that in those early years had very short fights and didn’t get a lot of ring time but ended up getting our 145-pound championship.
“I think (Rousey) has tremendous athletic ability. You can see it. She’s been through the Olympics in judo, representing our country, which we all thank her for. But now, she’s representing herself. I think she has tremendous potential, and I look forward to her next fight.”
Coker was comparing Rousey to Cristiane “Cyborg” Santo, as the former Olympian has been in the cage for just 1-minute and 39 seconds in her three pro fights.
When asked why she spoke up to the referee about the verbal submission, Rousey explained.
“It definitely should have been a stoppage,” Rousey said. “The referee came up to us before the fight (and said) that if you say anything during a submission, then it’s a verbal submission. When I went into the armbar, I felt her arm pop a couple of times, and I thought she yelled, ‘tap! tap!’ I guess she yelled, ‘ah!’ but either way, they said anything you said during was a verbal submission.
“She was really cool and really respectful. I didn’t really feel a need to be particular malicious, so I tried to tell the referee she was submitting. She was super cool right after, too. She said, ‘don’t listen to the crowd.”
Coker said they are looking to get Rousey back in the cage as soon as a fight can be signed.