UFC Featherweight Maximo Blanco appeared to have gotten off to a great start in his TUF 18 Finale bout against Akira Corassani. The thirty year old Venezuelan came out aggressive, landing a crisp punching combination and earning a takedown within just a few seconds of the opening frame. All seemed to be going well until Blanco got too carried away and kneed Corassani in the head while he was still on the ground. The referee immediately stopped the fight. After Corassani said he was unable to see, the fight officially ended and Blanco was disqualified.
Even so, Blanco continued to celebrate by doing cartwheels and backflips inside the octagon. Apparently, he had no idea what the ref was saying to him.
Blanco recently sat down with FOX Sports and explained the fight and his reactions afterwards.
“I remember landing two or three punches, and took him down. Then, I think I thought about throwing a left kick to the leg for a moment, but stopped, then, just a moment later, when I thought Akira was up, I unleashed a knee instead. I was only thinking about finishing the fight early,” he said.
Regarding his post-fight celebration, Blanco explained that his lack of fluency in the English language made it difficult for him to understand what the ref was saying.
“At that point, I honestly didn’t realize the knee I threw was illegal. I actually didn’t know why the fight was stopped. I don’t understand English so I didn’t really quite understand what referee told me at the neutral corner. I am not making any excuse here but when adrenaline is pumping its hard to understand the language I am not familiar with,” Blanco said. “So when he waved off the fight, I actually thought I won by a doctor stoppage. Then, my manager came to me told me I am disqualified.”
In addition to claiming that his reactions after the fight were done purely out of misunderstanding, he also expressed his regret:
“I am shamed about that back flip.”
“I felt shamed. So I went over to apologize to Akira, and he asked me ‘What happened?’ in Spanish and I could only say, I am sorry, that knee wasn’t unintentional but it was illegal so I am the one who needs to take the blame here,” Blanco explained.
In a sport where sportsmanship is paramount, Blanco has made a smart move by issuing an apology.
As of yet, the UFC has not announced who his next opponent will be.