The doctor who put a stop to Saturday’s BMF belt fight says he’s been berated by fight fans since his decision.
Dr. Nitin K. Sethi told MMA Fighting on Monday that he’s received death threats and been harassed online and at his business since ruling that the cut above Nate Diaz’s right eye was enough to call his fight against Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 244. Masvidal was ruled the winner by TKO after three of five scheduled rounds.
‘Calling me f---ing scum’
“I’m a very good neurologist and a very good doctor, and calling me f---ing scum online and calling my office staff and yelling at them, threatening me, I fear for my health and safety,” Sethi told MMA Fighting. “Somebody’s going to get hurt, and it’s probably going to be me this time.”
The anticlimactic end to the much-anticipated bout was a source of disappointment for fans at Madison Square Garden and viewers watching on pay-per-view.
Diaz criticized the decision and UFC president Dana White for supporting the call to end the fight.
“It’s the same as every fight,” Diaz said of the cut. “I have this same cut every time. After I fought [Anthony] Pettis, I went back and trained a week later and split it back open halfway. This thing always cuts open.”
‘I could not guarantee his health’
Sethi said he made the call because “I could not guarantee his health and safety,” a conclusion that overrode the desire of fans and the fighters to see the fight play out. But he said as soon as he made the call, he was questioned by the UFC itself when fight commentator Joe Rogan said it was “very, very usual for a doctor to stop a fight for a cut like that.”
“You have a very, very charged crowd, and you just make it more charged,” he said. “I was walking back [from the cage] and people from the top were yelling at me, ‘f--k this, f--k that.’”
Sethi predicts chilling effect for doctors
Sethi told MMA Fighting that the harassment carried from the arena into his personal and professional life, where he has been threatened in person and over his phone and seen critical fake reviews of his neurology practice.
“It’s a shame that’s what it boils down to,” Sethi said. “Anybody who’s involved in that sport should be hanging their head in shame when that happens.”
Sethi had a lot more to say to MMA Fighting about the response he’s received, including predicting that doctors would hesitate to make the right call moving forward in the the wake of the threats.
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