Sakara thought he had become the first fighter ever to knock Cote out. Moments after their UFC 154 bout was halted, however, the stoppage was ruled a disqualification due to blows to the back of the head with Cote awarded the victory.
The Italian slugger clocked Cote with a big elbow early in the first round, dropping him to the canvas where he continued to rain blows down upon him.
After a couple of shots landed to the ear, Sakara continued to throw hammerfist after hammerfist with several of them landing to the back of Cote’s head. After several shots, referee Dan Miragliotta swooped in to stop the fight, but after a confusing few minutes, the end result was Sakara being disqualified for illegal shots to the back of the head, and Cote being handed the victory.
Sakara’s manager, Lex McMahon of Alchemist MMA, appealed to the Quebec regulatory agency, the Régie des Alcools, des Courses et des Jeux (RAJC), to have the disqualification changed either to a win for Sakara as originally ruled or to a no-contest.
UFC president Dana White, following the fight, characterized it as a “horrible” job of refereeing by Miragliotta.
“I counted between seven and nine illegal punches to the back of the head,” he recounted. “It was crazy. (Miragliotta) was just standing there watching it; didn't jump in, didn't do anything. I think it should’ve been no contest, not awarded to Cote, but a no contest.”
The Quebec commission on Friday denied the appeal, saying the referee’s decision “is final and without appeal,” according to a report by LaPresse.ca. MMAWeekly.com subsequently confirmed the report with McMahon.
A rematch between Sakara and Cote could still happen. White, in meeting with reporters following UFC 154, sounded as if he was in favor of a rematch between the two.
Sakara’s record now stands at 15-10 including what is now a three-fight skid due to the disqualification.
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