Last night’s Bellator 88 saw a controversial moment in the opening of the Season 8 featherweight tournament between Akop Stepanyan and Marlon Sandro. After being warned by the referee on three occasions about grabbing the Cage, Stepanyan was deducted a point.
While most referees pause a fight to announce that a point is being deducted, this one occurred in-between the second and third round leaving many to wonder if that’s even allowed. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney was also unaware that such a decision was legal.
“I’ve never seen a referee not stop the action and deduct a point,” said Rebney to MMA Report. “I don’t know if that’s outside of what the commission can do. I don’t have any issue with deducting the point. It’s just odd to see it happen late. I thought it was a fine call.”
Stepanyan lost the fight by decision and Sandro now moves to the semifinals. Joining him will be Mike Richman, Alexandre Bezerra and Magomedrasul Khasbulaev.
Bellator 88 took place yesterday, February 7, as the promotion debuted in Georgia.