Saturday night in Houston, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez successfully defended his title against the hard hitting Brazilian knockout artist Junior Dos Santos. Velasquez outboxed and outwrestled his challenger for almost five whole rounds, battering him and rearranging his face. Although many fans enjoy watching fights with that level of violence and bloodiness, many other spectators wondered: Should the fight have been stopped?
The always outspoken UFC President Dana White thinks so.
“I’m not a doctor by any means, but I think that fight should have been stopped in the 3rd round,” said White, at the UFC 166 post fight press conference. “Im a guy who has been around this sport for a long time and boxing, and seeing men who are too tough for their own good, and I think Junior Dos Santos is one of those guys in the last Cain fight and in this Cain fight, and I think that fight should have been stopped. I didn’t think he needed to take more punishment.”
Cain Velasquez appeared at the post fight press conference with only minor scratches and bruises on his face. In contrast, Dos Santos was unable to attend the conference because he had to be taken to the hospital.
White’s comments spark a larger debate within the MMA community pertaining to fighter safety: Even if a fighter has a strong fighting spirit and is willing to continue, at what point should the doctors and officials stop the fight for the fighter’s own safety and wellbeing? Junior Dos Santos was taking very hard shots to his head. At some points in the fight, it appeared as though the only thing keeping him up on his feet was the fact that he was leaning his back on the cage behind him. He was barely able to defend himself against the champion’s onslaught and was bleeding heavily from his face. Many fans love to see fights of this nature, but White made his opinion clear that the fighter’s safety should be taken into account.