On September 24, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 95, in Brasília, Brazil, heavyweight Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson stopped Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva via strikes in the second. Then he kicked referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy in the hip, walked off, and gave him the finger.
Nelson’s frustration was admirable – Big Country and Bigfoot are friends, and he felt that McCarthy waited too long to stop the fight. However, the way Nelson expressed his frustration is despicable. You cannot get physical with the ref in any sport anywhere, never mind a combat sport. Nelson later apologized, but “wouldn’t take it back.”
Cristiano Sampaio, director of Brazil’s regulating body, the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA), said that the incident would be taken up by Brazil’s Superior Justice Court of Sport, which handles judicial questions pertaining to sports in Brazil. The newly formed Superior Justice Court for MMA (STJDMMA) investigated and filed a formal complaint with the STJD.
Now the STJDMMA has rendered a decision. The ever awesome Guilherme Cruz has the story for MMA Fighting.
The long-time UFC heavyweight was issued a nine-month suspension by the STJDMMA for assault and unethical behavior following his knockout win.
The maximum penalty, according to the STJDMMA, would be a 25-month suspension and $40,000 fine. However, the court informed Cruz that STJDMMA president Marcelo Sedlmayer Jorge had decided to hand Nelson a nine-month suspension, retroactive to Sept. 29, as well as a $24,000 fine.
Nelson mentioned in his defense that he was afraid due to some pre-fight situations, including the way Brazilian MMA fans behaved at the weigh-ins. The STJDMMA also said that Nelson mentioned his complicated relationship with McCarthy, but stated that he never intended to hurt the referee.
The STJDMMA is offering the heavyweight a chance to reduce his punishment to a six-month suspension and $13,700 fine if the UFC allows him to formally apologize to McCarthy inside the Octagon or during some form of press conference, preferably if McCarthy is attending, before Dec. 31.