Donald Cerrone had the crowd in Denver on Saturday night for his fight with Jorge Masvidal, but he didn’t have all of his wits by the end of the night.
Masvidal seemed to have finished Cerrone at the end of the first round, after dropped “Cowboy” with a big shot. As he went in to leave no doubt with follow-up shots, referee Herb Dean intervened with a waving of his hands.
A moment later, the round ended and there was confusion as to whether or not the fight was over. Dean ultimately deemed that the round had ended, giving Cerrone a minute to try and regain his bearings between rounds. A minute into the second round, Masvidal dropped him again.
This time the fight was stopped for good.
Asked about it in the UFC on FOX 23 post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White said he thought the original stoppage came before the horn.
“I picked up the phone and called production and said, ‘was that correct, was it the end of the round?’ It wasn’t,” he said to the assembled media at the Pepsi Center. “It wasn’t the end of the round, [Dean] stopped it early. But, not to defend Herb Dean, it was so loud in that arena I didn’t hear it either. Maybe you guys heard it, that you were sitting closer to it, but I didn’t hear it.”
For Cerrone, the loss snapped a four-fight win streak in the welterweight division, a weight class where he has looked reborn. He last fought Matt Brown at UFC 206 in early December, scoring a third-round knockout, and in August, he knocked out Rick Story with a head kick (and subsequent punches).
Yet Cerrone, a Colorado native who has never worried about halting his own momentum, wanted to make a quick return and fight on the Denver card. He had a willing dance partner in Masvidal, who lobbied for the fight beforehand.
Asked if he was okay with the way things played out, given the controversial non-stoppage and the second end moments later, White said he had no choice.
“It is what it is,” he said. “Mistakes are going to happen and it’s one of those…listen, I hate when ‘Cowboy’ does this. You know, he’s got four wins at welterweight and he wants to fight back-to-back like this, but that’s who this kid is. That’s what he wants to do, it is what it is.
“Now Masvidal? He never pulls this trigger this kid. He’s incredibly, super-talented. If he fought all the time like he fights tonight, he’ll be a world champion.”