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More Cro Cop Drama, Al-Turk Appealing Eye-Poke Loss (Update II)

Mirko Cro Cop Eye Pokes Mustapha Al-Turk UFC 99Looks like the DREAM deal fiasco isn’t the only drama to come out of Cro Cop’s potentially very short-lived return to the UFC.

Mostapha Al-Turk is appealing the loss because of the eye-poke.

“We are going to appeal that, we don’t think its right that it should be a TKO. The referee should have got onto the eye poke,” said Al-Turk’s agent Ken Pavia. “Look at Henderson v Franklin at UFC 93 in Dublin. Franklin got a timeout when he got eye-poked.

“With the fight taking place in Germany we aren’t sure what the protocol is, but we will put our appeal in writing and see what we can do.”

At the time of the eye-poke, I think it was pretty apparent how the fight was going to turn out. Hell, it may have even saved Al-Turk from a concussion-inducing head kick. There’s no way of actually knowing if Al-Turk would have made a miraculous comeback or not though, so I suppose he has a somewhat legitimate gripe.

Two problems though.

Hard to blame Dan Miragliota for not stopping it and giving Al-Turk a minute to compose himself when he didn’t see it (who did? happened so fast in real time). Even if he suspected an eye-poke when Al-Turk was bent over holding his face in hands, what happens if he stops it and it wasn’t? He’d be blasted by everyone for that. Best to act off what you see in my opinion.

The other problem is there’s no athletic commission to appeal to in Germany. They’ll have to take the appeal straight to the UFC where you already have one of the majority UFC owners on camera saying it was unfortunate, but everyone felt Cro Cop was probably going to TKO Al-Turk anyways. However, appealing to the UFC could end up working out in their favor if Dana’s still pissed at Mirko. We all know how vindictive he can get when he feels he’s been wronged.

Personally, I gotta agree with Lorenzo on this one. It’s unfortunate, but the result probably wouldn’t have turned out any differently. Much like life, the fight game isn’t always fair.

Update: So, apparently, the UFC has a provision in their contract for this sorta thing. Who knew?

Any and all Bouts that occur in a jurisdiction or country without an Athletic Commission shall be conducted pursuant to the statutes, rules and regulations of the State of Nevada in effect at the time of the Bout, including, but not limited to, the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts (the “Nevada Rules”); for the protection of the health and safety of the Fighter, to promote fairness in the administration of the Bout, and to preserve the integrity of the sport of mixed martial arts. In its sole discretion, ZUFFA may utilize the Nevada Rules in the oversight of any Bouts that occur under this Subsection 4.7. Fighter may appeal any advisory opinion by ZUFFA regarding any violations of the Nevada Rules relating only to Bouts that occur in a jurisdiction or country without an official government mandated Athletic Commission to an independent third-party arbitrator or arbitration panel selected pursuant to the guidelines developed by the American Arbitration Association. All costs and fees associated with an appeal taken pursuant to this Section shall be the exclusive responsibility of the Fighter. Regardless of where a Bout occurs, in no event shall a Fighter have any right to appeal a decision by ZUFFA relating to the UFC Title or the UFC Championship belts.

Basically, the appeal would be contested under the NSAC’s rules, a “third-party arbitrator or arbitration panel” would be required, and Al-Turk would have to pay for it.

Two problems for Al-Turk here. As Fightlinker pointed out, in Nevada, Kevin Burns lost his eye-poke case against Anthony Johnson due to a “lack of remedy.” Ridiculous, but true. Then, as Ben Fowlkes pointed out (I know, everyone beat me to the good commentary…overachievers), does Al-Turk making the peanuts he does in the UFC really want to pursue this and blow all his purse money just to go from 6-5-0 to 6-4-1? Probably not.

Learned a long time ago you have know when to pick your battles.

Update II: Marc Ratner, former head of the NSAC & current UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs, has chimed in, and says Al-Turk can’t appeal something that can’t be overturned.

Marc Ratner, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Monday told an appeal was not possible.

“It’s very simple,” said Ratner. “By the unified rules… first of all the referee didn’t see the foul. What you’re asking is can we go to instant replay. You’re saying now that the fight’s over, can you take a look at it? If the referee had seen the finger and stopped the fight immediately, he could have given a stop for five minutes to recover, and then if (Al-Turk) couldn’t have gone on, it would have been a no-contest.”

Ratner, who headed the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) prior to current Executive Director Keith Kizer, chalked the incident up to a judgment call on Mirgliotta’s part.

“In any sport, a judgment call cannot be overturned,” he continued. “It’s one of those things that happens, but nobody saw it around the Octagon until the replay.”

There you have it. Case closed.

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