Daniel Cormier and Chael Sonnen Weigh In On Chris Weidman’s Double Eye-Poke TKO at UFC Atlantic City

Cormier and Sonnen discuss the confusion surrounding Saturday's controversial finish between Weidman and Silva in New Jersey

Daniel Cormier Chael Sonnen Talks Chris Weidman
Daniel Cormier Chael Sonnen Talks Chris Weidman - Image credit ESPN MMA Youtube

Chris Weidman returned to the win column for the first time in four years. Unfortunately, his victory was mired in controversy.

The former middleweight champion stepped inside the Octagon for a clash with Bruno Silva at UFC Atlantic City in what very well could have been the final fight of his career. Instead, the ‘All American’ looked as sharp as ever, landing combinations, and even a few kicks, against his Brazilian opposition.

During the third round, Weidman appeared to connect with a check left hook that sent Silva crashing to the canvas. Weidman finished the fight with some ground and pound before leaping over the cage and celebrating with the roaring crowd. However, slow-motion replay revealed that Weidman had poked Silva in the eye not once, but twice during the fight-ending sequence. 

Much to Silva’s chagrin, Bruce Buffer made the official announcement, calling Weidman the winner via TKO before the broadcast team revealed that due to the eye-pokes, the fight was officially called off and that it would go down as a unanimous decision for Weidman based on what the judges had scored up to the point of the fouls. 

Sharing his thoughts on the confusing and controversial decision, UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier backed the decision rendered by referee Gary Copeland. 

“There’s a rule in place that if you go past a certain point in the fight, it’s scored,” Cormier told Chael Sonnen during an episode of ESPN’s Good Guy/Bad Guy. “If there is an illegal blow, they score the fight and when you score that fight, Chris Weidman wins. So I think by them making it a decision, it saves the fight for Weidman because he really did deserve to get a victory because he fought so well. And he made one point that I thought was very important. He said, “I get it, but Bruno Silva has to understand you can’t fall to the ground and turn away from the fight because I am going to jump on you and finish the fight.’

Weidman did what his instincts told him and that was to go finish Bruno Silva when Bruno reacted the way that he did. I’m only saying this because, to me, it felt like a soccer player when they get fouled and they’re rolling around on the ground when the guy barely touches them. Bruno Silva got eye poked, but I think he understood where he was in the fight. He was getting beat. He was losing and then fell to the ground hoping, ‘Wait! Stop! Poke to the eye. No contest.’ Instead, Weidman finished him.”

Sonnen Believes Chris Weidman vs. Bruno Silva Will Be Overturned to a No Contest

Sonnen, on the other hand, believes there is a good chance that the result will be overturned to a no-contest — particularly in a state like New Jersey whose athletic commission often preemptively makes those decisions without an appeal from a fighter and/or their team. 

‘The American Gangster’ also questioned Copeland’s actions, suggesting that he as the referee does not have the authority to send the bout to the judges unless calling for it ahead of time rather than after the fact.

“If this does get [overturned], you’re going to have a rematch and it does come down to a lot of technicalities, but I’m gonna tell you one of them which is if we’re going to go to the cards in New Jersey, that has to be a decision that the doctor and the referee come to and the referee has to signal for that. He has to signal, ‘We are done here. Where are we at? Over 75%? Okay,’ then turn to the cards. He did not do that. At least not that I saw. 

“Perhaps he walked over to the table and said those words, but I’m judging his body language. If he did not put that in place, he does not have the authority to turn to the cards.”

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out, but one thing is always for certain — the UFC will continue to ignore the epidemic of eye pokes in the sport rather than making a necessary change to protect its fighters. 

Watch the full episode of Good Guy/Bad Guy below:

Published on April 1, 2024 at 6:10 pm
Stay up-to-date with the latest MMA news, rumors, and updates by following the RED Monster on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Also, don't forget to add MiddleEasy to your Google News feed Follow us on Google News for even more coverage.


Leave a Comment