“That’s $1 Million”- Justin Gaethje Says He Could Have Lost Money Because of the Referee’s Mistake at UFC 268

Published 11/11/2021, 10:10 AM EST
DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 02: Justin Gaethje prepares to enter the Octagon against Eddie Alvarez in their lightweight bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Lightweight fighter Justin Gaethje made an amazing comeback at UFC 268. He fought Michael Chandler and won the spectacular fight that turned out to be an absolute war. Fans could not get enough of both the fighters and the performance they put up in the octagon.

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However, according to Justin Gaethje, the bout could have taken a turn in an entirely different direction. Because of a mistake on the referee’s part, Gaethje could have lost the fight. It would have also cost him a lot of money, too.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 02: Justin Gaethje reacts after being defeated by Eddie Alvarez in their lightweight bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

During their second round, Chandler threw a right hand at Gaethje. When Gaethje indicated he had been fouled, referee Mike Beltran stepped in. However, the referee did not give Gaethje enough time to recover. This could have ruined his chances of winning the fight.

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Justin Gaethje unhappy with referee Mike Beltran

On the Anik and Florian podcast, Gaethje said, “That was a big punch. What if that would have knocked me out? Those can change the whole direction of a fight. It’s just crazy to me that it wasn’t a big issue, because for me it was a huge issue. That’s $1 million, if I lose, that’s so much money off of my table.”

When Beltran stopped the fight and asked Gaethje if he was fine after the accidental eye poke, Gaethje said that he was alright. But he needed some time, which the referee did not provide. 

Gaethje further said, “And so, I’m like, yeah, I’m good, because as a fighter, you never say you’re not good to continue. So then he was like, ‘OK, fight.’ I was like, ‘No, I need my time. He poked me in the eye.’ And he looks directly at me and he says, ‘You said you’re good, fight.’ And he never looked at my eye. He didn’t even take a second to see if I was affected.” [h/t MMA Fighting]

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While Gaethje still managed to win the bout, what further upset him was that Beltran approached him backstage and tried to justify his actions. Gaethje felt that the referee should have accepted his fault. 

Well, one can’t change what’s already done. It’s great that the eye poke did not affect Gaethje too much. 

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What do you think about Justin Gaethje’s comments on the referee? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Rohini Kottu

125 articles

Rohini Kottu is a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. She is also a Psychologist and has a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. Rohini, in her role as a UFC writer, combines her admiration for the mental resilience that MMA fighters have and her love for analysis.

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