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‘Ridiculous’ UFC Rule Fact-Checked After Chris Weidman’s Eye Poke Controversy at UFC Atlantic City

Published 04/02/2024, 3:36 PM EDT

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Chris Weidman might have gone home a victor, but he does not reap the fame of one. His win over Bruno Silva at the UFC Atlantic City on Saturday has been marred in controversy, with many criticizing the ref for letting him win, despite poking his opponent in the eye. UFC veteran, Michael Bisping outlined why certain rules that were relayed on fight night were “Stupid.”

Weidman started strong in the first round. He landed some powerful shots at his Brazilian opponent, assuming a dominant position instantly. The latter, however, recuperated in the second round. But that was not enough. The third round began with each taking pokes at the other, with the South Carolina native dropping Silva to the canvas, winning the bout on knockout. However, the latter rebutted, alleging his eye was poked. A confirmation of which, led to the knockout victory being flipped to an on-points one. Does Bisping agree with the flip?

Are the rules arbitrary?

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On his podcast, the 45-year-old actor and sports commentator expressed his take on the controversial fight between Weidman and Silva. He explained, “Well, for Chris, Saturday night, the fingers were out a lot right? And again, I’m not talking sh*t because you’re in the moment when you’re in the middle of the fight, and if that’s how you’re used to operating in sparring or whatever. That’s how you’re going to be.”

While most expected that the multiple pokes Silva received in his eye would flip the KO win into a no-contest, the official called in a unanimous decision victory. It gave Weidman his first win in four years. The officials justified the decision by explaining that the positioning of the fingers did not warrant a no-contest. Many including Bisping highlighted how this rule had a thin line of separation between what is allowed and what is not.

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He further noted, “The rule is, it can’t be like that, it’s got to be like that. I find that to be an absolutely ridiculous rule if I’m being honest. They got to change that. How stupid? So the finger can be like that, can’t be like that for obvious reason but can be like that. It only takes a split second to do that. Do you know what I’m mean.”

Bipsing concluded, “The rule should be almost clenched. You don’t have it clenched tight but that all the time. None of this sh*t.” 

Post-fight, a dejected Silva outlined his next efforts for a loss, which he claims was unjustified. Like many, he expected his opponent to accept the wrong, however, that did not happen. What does he think about that?

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Bruno Silva to Appeal Loss

Silva did not concede to his opponent. The fighter argued that his eye was poked multiple times, which was confirmed in video footage. Post the matchup, “The referee was bizarre,” Silva told MMA Fighting. “He f***** up, and then f***** up on top of that. The least they could do is a no-contest. No way. He put his finger inside my eye,” he argued.

What is his next move in this regard? “Chris Weidman acted in bad faith,” Silva said. “It’s said [by the referee] at the locker room that you can’t fight with your fingers pointing straight, it should be either up or with your hands closed. He spent the entire fight with his fingers pointing at my face, and still celebrated as if he had knocked me out.”

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What do you think about Bruno Silva’s loss? Was the referee wrong in the decision? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Written by:

Mohammed Shafiulla

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Mohammed Shafiulla is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports. With a Master’s degree in Journalism from a reputed institute, Shafi has cemented his position as one of the astute observers of boxing at ES. One of the early supporters of Naoya Inoue, Shafi has covered his transition from a Japanese boxer with a niche fan following to a power-punching global boxing star.
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Edited by:

Smrutisnat Jena