Referee Yves Lavigne made a few obvious mistakes last Saturday night at UFC 96 during the Matt Brown-Pete Sell fight.
Over the years, I’ve heard quite a few refs try to defend their poor decision making following a fight, but not Yves. He’s man enough to admit he screwed up.
At the start of the fight featuring Matt Brown and Pete Sell Sell was rocked by a barrage of punches from Brown and fell to the ground. Referee Yves Lavigne stepped in momentarily then restarted the fight. “I screwed up. There’s not much to say. I screwed up the fight. I made a rookie mistake at the beginning and stopped it way too soon. I kind of restarted the fight. It wasn’t over at that point and I made the decision to look like a fool and say ok, keep going. I may have deprived Mr. Brown of an early victory but we’ll never know because of me.”
“I feel really bad. Fighters deserve the best. Instead of talking about Mr. Browns great win people are talking about a ref. Mr. Brown won with athleticism and tools he has and I’m taking the spotlight away because of my mistake. I feel really bad about it. He deserves better. He worked hard for that win.”
Lavigne insists that the stoppage in the earlier fight between Riley and Nelson had nothing to do with his actions, “No, not at all, it was not me in that fight. It’s my fault.”
After the fight Lavigne went to the back and checked on Sell, “Mr. Sell was ok, according to him and said I should’ve let it go.” Lavigne says. “I went to talk to him to see if he was ok. I do that on a regular basis after the fight. Sometimes with the adrenaline they tell the doctor they are ok but sometime later they are not. He really was ok.”
Kind of hard to keep blaming him after that. Yves is typically a pretty solid referee, so hopefully, he can just chalk up to a bad night, and move on to the next.