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Maggie Hendricks

Sokoudjou isn't to blame for the way his win ended, the ref is


As Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou TKOed Jan Nortje at Dream 9 on Tuesday, he rained down a flurry of blows. Nortje was not defending himself intelligently, and the ref raised his hand to signal that the fight was over, but Soko kept punching. Afterwards, Nortje's corner and the Dream commentator went crazy, yelling at Soko for his actions. Did he go too far?

After watching the video several times, it seems that the referee is the one to blame. Soko was not looking at the ref; instead, he was looking at the man he was punching. That makes sense. The ref didn't get right in Soko's face to signal the end of the fight, nor did he throw his body in front of Nortje to protect him. MMA fighters are trained not to stop punching until the fight is stopped. If it wasn't obvious to Soko that the fight was over, why would he stop?

In American fights, we're accustomed to seeing strong people as referees who are willing to sacrifice their bodies to protect fighters when a fight is stopped. If refs like Herb Dean, John McCarthy and Yves Levigne did not throw their bodies in front of a downed fighter, we would see fighters continue to punch when a fight is stopped much more often. Soko is not to blame in this case. The referee who refused to do his job is.

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