‘He’s out! He’s out!’: Referee watches as choked-out fighter wakes up to tap from armbar
A very bizarre scene unfolded to end Fury FC 76, as a referee severely failed in his duties to protect a fighter.
Dana White’s Contender Series veteran Edgar Chairez and Gianni Vazquez were in the fourth round of a competitive flyweight main event bout Friday evening at Boeing Center at Tech Port in San Antonio when referee Frank Collazo failed to recognize when a fighter went unconscious.
Vazquez (8-5) completed a takedown on Chairez (10-4), but soon found himself locked in a triangle choke at 3:43. Chairez adjusted to secure the position even further, which prompted Vazquez to attempt to stack his opponent, but even just a couple of seconds later, it was already too late. Chairez hooked the leg, and the unconscious Vazquez crashed down to the canvas about 9 seconds later.
Vazquez wasn’t moving, and the commentary team of UFC welterweight Alex Morono, Michael Alexander, and Raheel Ramzanali began calling the finish as the referee stood closely over the action.
“He’s breathing like he’s out. He’s breathing like he’s asleep. Look at his leg,” said one of the commentators as they began yelling over each other in what quickly turned into a chaotic moment.
Others sitting cageside could be heard screaming and pleading with the referee to stop the fight, as it was clear Vasquez was unresponsive.
Calls of “He’s out! He’s out!” were repeated. Collazo continued to just hover over the fighters, perhaps observing something that nobody else in the arena or watching at home on UFC Fight Pass saw in the moment.
The choke was still locked in as seconds ticked away. With the Collazo still not stopping the action, Chairez opted to transition to an armbar, releasing the triangle choke at 3:15.
“Frank, he’s out! He’s out!” exclaimed Morono.
“Frank! What. Oh my gosh,” said Ramzanali. “Frank, it’s done! Frank, it’s done! What are you doing? It’s done!”
After laying motionless on his back in the armbar for a few more seconds, Vazquez slowly began regaining consciousness. He began to move his left hand, and reached for his right arm which was trapped in the submission hold.
It would be close to another 10 seconds before he tapped out as the referee stood just inches away. The entire time multiple people cageside were screaming and pleading for Collazo to stop the fight.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:04, when Collazo finally stopped the bout.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below (via Twitter):
Ridiculous scene at Fury FC. Edgar Cháirez puts Gianni Vazquez to sleep with a triangle, and the ref simply doesn't stop it. Cháirez ends up armbarring an unconscious Vazquez who wakes up in the submission. #Furyfc76 pic.twitter.com/AgcwI2i3ss
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) March 25, 2023
After being tended to by the ringside doctor and his cornermen, Vasquez returned to the middle of the cage for the reading of the official decision, and appeared to be moving fluidly, aware of the situation.
As a cherry on top of the debacle, the fumbling of events continued when the ring announcer called out the wrong name as the winner.
According to Sherdog, Collazo has refereed 129 fights since 2014, including bouts under the UFC and LFA banners, among other Texas-based promotions.