Anthony Smith Calls for Referees To Be More Protective After UFC 259 Disqualification Saga

Published 03/13/2021, 12:49 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 28: Anthony Smith reacts after submitting Devin Clark in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night at UFC APEX on November 28, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Former UFC light-heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith has shared his take on the recent UFC 259 incident. Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan fought for the bantamweight belt in the pay-per-view, where Yan was disqualified for landing an illegal shot on Sterling. Subsequently, he lost his belt.

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The whole saga was very controversial. Experts, fans, and fellow fighters have all shared their opinions on what actually happened. ‘Lionheart’ has chimed in on the incident as well. He believes the referees need to be sterner, as they need to take better control of such situations.

He believes officials must be educated enough to know when a fighter is hurt and the fight needs to be stopped. The legality of a shot is a secondary problem, and whether the fighter can continue or not should be prioritized first.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: (L-R) Petr Yan of Russia punches Aljamain Sterling in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

That’s my point. The legality of the shot shouldn’t matter. If that knee was legal, he would have stopped that fight right afterwards. Had his knee come up, he would have stopped that fight because Aljo wouldn’t have continued,” said Smith.

Mark Smith, Herb Dean, Jason Herzog, Keith Peterson, all of them know what a fighter looks like when he’s hurt and can’t continue. If they say they can’t, they should get a new f**king job. It’s so frustrating to me,” added ‘Lionheart’.

Amith has a point here. If ‘Funkmaster’ wasn’t able to continue, the legal aspect of that shot doesn’t matter, and ‘No Mercy’ should have been disqualified right away.

Anthony Smith has his fair share of experience with illegal shots

Smith fought Jon ‘Bones‘ Jones for the light-heavyweight title at UFC 235. In the fourth round of the fight, Jones hit Smith with an illegal knee while Smith was grounded. He could have decided to not continue and won the belt subsequently. But Smith proved why he is known as ‘Lionheart‘ and carried on with the contest.

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Smith will be back in action in April as he fights Jimmy Crute at UFC 261. ‘Lionheart’ will look to build on his submission win against Devin Clark last term.

What did you make of Anthony Smith’s take on the UFC 259 incident? Let us know.

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Apratim Banerjee

829 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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