In the first round of the final preliminary bout in Montreal on Saturday night, Sakara knocked Cote down with sharp elbows. Cote fell to the ground and grabbed a single leg. Sakara rained down hammerfists, with several landing in the prohibited area in the back of the head. Cote went limp and the fight was stopped at 1:26.
Referee Dan Miragliotta consulted with the judges and Montreal athletic commission officials before the final decision was read. The crowd in Montreal booed relentlessly, only stopping to cheer when Canadian Cote's face was shown on the screen.
But they would soon be cheering as the fight was announced as a disqualification win for Cote. Miragliotta explained to Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole that he warned Sakara twice to stop throwing the illegal hits. UFC vice president of regulatory affairs said Miragliotta consulted a replay and Montreal officials to call the fight a disqualification, which he is allowed to do by Montreal's rules.
It was a perfect use of instant replay, which is not used widely in MMA. But the question remains on if it should have been a disqualification, which is counted as a loss against Sakara's record, or a no contest, which isn't a win or a loss.
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- Alessio Sakara
- Patrick Cote