Former UFC Contender Frank Trigg Defends Mario Yamasaki After UFC Belem Controversy

Mario Yamasaki, a veteran referee, was involved in yet another officiating-related controversy on this past weekends UFC Fight Night 125 event in Belem, Brazil, where Yamasaki allowed Valentina Shevchenko to put a prolonged thrashing on Priscila Cachoeira that many agree should have ended far earlier than it did.

Even UFC president Dana White showed his disdain toward Mario Yamasaki’s worst performance and despises the idea of Yamasaki being back in the Octagon for officiating duties. Frank Trigg, a former two-time welterweight title challenger, now retired and serves as a referee was also involved in one of Yamasaki’s poorly officiated fights in the past. He believes Mario Yamasaki handled UFC Belem fight right.

“I would have stopped it a minute earlier, but that’s because I already know the result of the fight; I already know what’s going to happen,” Trigg said during a recent guesting on MMAjunkie Radio. “I wasn’t in the cage. I wasn’t doing it live. From what I watched on Mario, he did everything correct. No sound, but I assume he’s talking to her. Every time she got spoken to she moved. I assume everything he did was exactly within the mechanics of the way I was taught. He was doing it correct.”

“It’s his style. He’s always a little bit laid back and delayed when it comes to the stoppages. That’s just how his style is,” Trigg continued. “You have your opponent, but you also have to worry about the ref. It’s getting better obviously not, but you still have to worry about the ref. When you have Mario, you know he’s coming in a little late, and you’ve got to keep going.”

Trigg recounts his experience, in a title fight with Matt Hughes at UFC 52 in April 2005. Where Mario Yamasaki failed to identify a low blow, and Hughes won by submission.

But Trigg has no problem with how this past weekend’s event went through.

“I think Mario did a fine job, and believe me, Mario and I have no love lost between each other,” Trigg said. “This fool cost me a million dollars. Let’s be very clear: It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s ‘Big’ John McCarthy, it’s Mike Bell, and it’s Mike Beltran.’ I’ll defend those guys all day long no matter what they do. These are my boys.”

“This guy (Yamasaki), we don’t disagree when we meet with each other, but he cost me a lot of money, and it’s his fault I’m not a millionaire now – back to that one instance he should have stopped the fight and he didn’t (against Hughes). But that’s the way it goes. What he did on Saturday night, I’m totally OK with.”

Valentina Shevchenko brutally dethrones Priscila and won the fight via second-round submission and earns $50,000 for Performance of the Night. In the whole process, Brazilian was out-struck by a staggering 227 total strikes and suffered a gruesome knee injury.

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