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20th Aug 2018

Arguably the most disturbing incident of referee negligence ever

"I lost the fight and almost lost my life."

Ben Kiely

A regional MMA ref in Brazil is garnering worldwide attention for all the wrong reasons.

We’ve never seen an MMA refereeing performance quite like the one during Demolidor Fight MMA 13’s main event (credit to Redditor Y-27632 for figuring out the details). The bout was between Rafael Barbosa and Melquizael Costa da Conceicao. However, it was the third man in the cage that has been dominating the discussion.

Barbosa won the fight by catching Costa in a choke. Costa went out like a light. However, he remained in the choke for nearly two whole minutes. Barbosa even gestured to the referee to let him know that his opponent was unconscious, but the official wasn’t having any of it.

The referee didn’t check once to see if Costa was out. He leaned down and just stared at the scene until he eventually decided to call it.

Before you come to the official’s defence, check to see the victim’s reaction below.

The good news is Costa appears to be fine. He has posted on social media since the fight. He uploaded the following status to his Facebook after the incident. It was a fairly damning assessment of the refereeing.

“Guys this was my fight yesterday. I lost the fight and almost lost my life… I blacked out, had a seizure, and still the judge did not interfere with the fight. I appreciate everyone’s support. I mean, I’m fine. I lost to myself because I was thirsty to end the round, but I ended up giving loopholes to my opponent. I do not take credit for it, I’m going to make myself stronger next time. OSS!”

Costa can count his blessings. Thankfully he appears to be ok.

People are quick to criticise UFC referees, but we’ve never seen anything as egregious as this inside the Octagon.