Jon Jones destroyed Matt Hamill in last night’s TUF 10 Finale, but thanks to a few elbows strikes he didn’t know were illegal, he lost the fight due to disqualification. It would be heartbreaking for any fighter, but while Jones is disappointed the loss, he’s “at peace” with it.
“I thought I won, and when they said I lost, I was like, ‘No, this can’t be happening,’…But I lost. That said, everything happens for a reason…I just try to look at situations and stumbles and stay strong and bounce back stronger. I’m going to bounce back stronger. No, ‘I’m undefeated. I’m so nervous.’ I don’t have that feeling anymore. I have a loss on my record, so it’s OK…I was hitting him so many times with so many legal blows, I was looking for more ways to get in and try to hit him more effectively…I hit him – I don’t know. I hit him so many times, and they didn’t stop it. I just kept going, and it came instinctively to come down the middle…I definitely took a lot of pride in being undefeated…I’m proud to be a martial artist, and I strive so hard to be the best I can be. But everything happens for a reason…I feel great. I’m healthy. I have no injuries. I get to go home and see my daughter and my girlfriend. I haven’t seen them in so long. … I don’t really care about the loss. I’m at peace.”
For the first time in the history of the sport, instant replay was used after the fight was stopped to determine the correct ruling. According to Keith Kizer, Steve Mazzagatti made the right call.
“Once Mr. Jones got off Mr. Hamill, (Mazzagatti) took the point away, and when he went back to check on Mr. Hamill, he saw he wasn’t in condition to continue because of the facial wounds. [Mazzagatti] used instant replay to determine whether the intentional fouls contributed to those wounds, and they definitely did. He made the call he had to make…At the end of the day, you have the illegal elbows that cut [Hamill] up, and that’s why it was stopped. The only call you can make in that situation is a disqualification…Because there was definitely some damage done by lawful elbows, it was difficult to determine what caused what until he saw the instant replay. Then it was very easy. It would have been a tough call for him without the instant replay just due to the good strikes that preceded the illegal blows. That’s why we added it.”
If Hamill couldn’t continue because his face was busted up from the illegal elbows, then Mazzagatti was right in disqualifying Jones, but here’s the twist. According to Hamill’s camp, Matt failed to continue because he badly injured his shoulder during the throw that put Hamill on his back, not because of the damage he sustained underneath Jones.
The bout marked the first time Nevada State Athletic Commission officials used replay to render a decision. They should have rewound to Jones’ electric takedown of Hamill (9-2) earlier in the opening round because it was then that fight really ended. Duff Holmes, Hamill’s trainer, told SI.com the powerful trip resulted in his fighter suffering a broken left shoulder. It was also at this point that Jones (9-1) took over by mounting and unloading punches and elbows. To Hamill’s credit, he defended well and most of the attacks were deflected. But he wasn’t going to come back.
If true, should the fight have not been ruled a no contest or perhaps even a win for Jones? You would think, but Kizer did mention he was aware of shoulder injury but said it wasn’t a factor in stopping the fight.
“There was a deep, jagged cut on the bridge of the nose. Obviously (there’s) a lot of blood there. Steve stopped the fight initially to take the point away. He looked at [Hamill], and he couldn’t continue. [Mazzagatti] had to make an initial call and then came down to look at the instant replay…I think, in the end, there was also damage there to the shoulder that didn’t come into play with the stoppage…An intentional foul, if the fighter can’t continue due to the intentional foul, in whole or in part – in any round – it’s a disqualification.”
Either way, whether the officials made the correct ruling or not, this loss isn’t going to hurt Jones in the long-run. He has a ton of talent and a very unique, dynamic and exciting fighting style. If he continues to turn in similar performances against the division’s elite, he’ll be a strong title contender in 2011, if not sooner.