twitter google

The fight ain’t over till Yamasaki sings

The great thing about reffing an unregulated event is that you just collect a paycheck and fuck off. There’s no ‘being accountable’ for your actions, there’s no commission to face afterwards. Instead of ‘the safety of the fighters’ being your number one concern, your main concern is whatever you feel like. In Mario Yamasaki’s case at EliteXC Uprising, it seemed like he was mainly concerned with getting someone killed.

First, there was the Shields/Verissimo fight: For thirty seconds, Jake Shields sat in full mount on Verissimo and unloaded over 60 unanswered punches. No, I’m not exaggerating … i went back and counted. Yamasaki stood watching, waiting for the ‘oh fuck I’m stuck’ look in Verissimo’s eyes to change to the ‘who am I / where am I / I can has cheeseburger’ look.

Next up we have the Robbie Lawler vs Ninja Rua fight. Lawler dropped Ninja with a pretty brutal combo and then went in for the kill. While Lawler pounded away, Ninja waved his hands in the air like he just didn’t care. He looked like an epileptic Jim Henson puppet rather than a fighter intelligently defending himself. After Yamasaki stopped it, Matt Hughes did a very Christian thing and took Yamasaki to task for allowing Ninja to turn the other cheek … and the other, and the other, and the other:

Though his man had won, former UFC champ Matt Hughes (Pictures) charged into the cage, where he got into Yamasaki’s face and berated the official for letting the fight continue the way it had.

Anyways, it sucks that you’ve got refs like Herb Dean stopping fights too early and guys like Yamasaki who won’t stop the fight until someone’s been beaten half dead. Is there any high profile ref out there who consistently hits the sweet spot?

**UPDATE** I had to remove a whole paragraph of fun because once again I’m a stupid retard who doesn’t fact check my work. I accused Yamasaki of being the ref in the Heath/Sobral fight, when it was obviously Pornstache Mazzagatti. Thanks to the better educated Ryan for correcting me, and not being mean about it!

  • DJ Hapa says:

    Disagree entirely. I thought the Ninja fight was fine except that Lawler managed to get two extra shots before Yamamsaki put his hands on him. Lawler tends to do that though. I didn’t see any indication that Charuto was hurt and mario gave him the chance that he deserved to work his way out of the situation.

  • GonzoDamon says:

    I disagree with the Charuto stoppage. Those blows that Shields was landing were only hard enough to try to get the fight stopped or to score points. They weren’t doing that much damage, hence why he was able to throw so many of them in a consistent manner without completely blowing his wad.

    HOWEVER, Yamasaki should have ended the fight as soon as Lawler landed the first hammerfist. Regardless of the fact that some of us may be accustomed to when the Pride refs would let things slide, this is unacceptable.

    The most important aspect of all this is the fact that Ninja was EXHAUSTED COMPLETELY. He was having enough trouble just keeping the momentum of movement around the cage that Robbie was forcing at that point. You can CLEARLY see Ninja turning his head and cringing, visibly aware that he had been beaten and was awaiting the stoppage.

    In the least, 4-6 of those blows should not have landed. Robbie is a power puncher, that is what his WHOLE game is based on. Those weren’t Shield’s-force blows, or really any other fighter’s blows, they were BOMBS from the Ruthless man himself.

    Despite what anyone might say, you must be intelligently defending yourself. Ninja arms and legs seemed to be nearly acting involuntarily, floundering upwards in the air. He was tired and he was beaten.

    COME ONE, Robbie even paused for a few seconds to retarget a bomb and increase the power.

    It’s funny that Hughes took it upon himself to chide Yamasaki. That couldn’t be the only thing that the commotion was about. Was it just me, or did Lawler attempt to charge back towards a beaten and unconscious fighter. No way in hell was he checking on him…

    Ridiculous….Ninja had to be basically carried out of the cage. Look how hard Rudimar was struggling to hold Murilo up…

    I just can’t believe that some people actually think that it wasn’t a ludicrously slow stoppage. My bet is that Yamasaki favored Ninja and really wanted him to have time to possibly recover.

  • Hapa: Are you crazy re: Charuto? That was like The Beatdown that Never Ends. It goes on and on my friends. Jake Shields started beating him not knowing what it was. And Yamasaki let it go on forever just because it was the beatdown that never ends. It goes on and on my friends. Jake Shields started beating him not knowing what it was. And Yamasaki let it go on forever just because ….

    and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

  • DJ Hapa says:

    The part of the stoppage that was slow was the actual physical action of Yamasaki. He decided to stop at at the right time, imo, but he was just slow in physically intevening.

    If you really want to see a slow ref, watch the Hulk v Bitetti fight. The ref moved like a slug.

  • BigFern says:

    hmm…nah i dont think he let it go on too long. Ninja was throwin up a few – albeit lame- kicks from the floor. good call

  • garth says:

    i’m surprised that anyone would argue when the opponent’s corner guy gave it to the ref for letting it go too long. Why would Matt Hughes care otherwise?

  • GonzoDamon says:

    I really don’t see how this stoppage is even arguable as not late, particularly in light of a lot of the other brain farts refs have been having.

    It’s hard to even argue this one because it just seems so obvious…

    Surely, you jest? Maybe a definition of intelligent defense is in order….

    OR…how about we just replay the last few seconds of the fight, focusing on Ninja and his reaction. If there is still some confusion, I don’t know, go fuck yourself. I’m kidding, seriously, but just look at Ninja. His arms and legs are doing the dashboard hoola girl in the air, in honor of their place of battle (of course), with no real attempts at doing anything more than looking exhausted and defeated. He was cringing, closing his eyes, and totally try to give the international body language for “Yamasaki, come save me before this beast pounds me head right into the volcano (yeah, i don’t know either)”.

    Not only that, but how can you argue that ti was not a late stoppage WHEN THE OPPOSING CORNERMAN fins it necessary to berate the ref, despite the fact that his name happens to rhyme with rat poos?

  • DJ Hapa says:

    “Not only that, but how can you argue that ti was not a late stoppage WHEN THE OPPOSING CORNERMAN fins it necessary to berate the ref, despite the fact that his name happens to rhyme with rat poos?”

    Honestly, I don’t know exactly what Hughes was saying. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was trying to deflect potential criticism of Lawler for his actions onto the ref. Lawler and other MFS fighters have had an odd habit of continuing to hit their beaten opponents after the stop. Or maybe Matt didn’t have as good a view as Yamamsaki.

  • Royal B. says:

    Oh, he stops fights too early too. See his reffing over Calvancanti and Nam Phan at Dynamite USA. Phan was properly defending and JZ gave him a couple tags. Yamazaki stops it. No one got KO’d. Hell, Nam wasn’t even dazed. It just got stopped.

  • Ryan says:

    Heath/Sobral was actually referred by Steve (Pornstash) Mazzagatti.

  • BigD says:

    Hey this is the way I see. There was no doubt left in anyones mind that ninja was done when he called it off there for it was a good stoppage. Too many times ppl are crying b/c they think the other guy could have still gotten out of it. Him letting it go on like he did left no doubt in my mind that-that was the end for ninja. No way he was gonna come back. And if this is too graffic for some ppl maybe they should go back to watching wwe. I believe they had this show rated R. But I’m sure the same ppl crying about mazzagatti stopping it late are the same one’s crying when there’s a controversial early stoppage.

  • Cyrus says:

    I think that Pornstache Mazzagati and the always ethnically confusing Yamasaki are like the same douche bag, so I don’t think your mistake matters all that much Fightlinker. Gimme Big John or Herb Dean anydays over the twits. And that’s even with the box fulla curses old Dean seems to travel around with. Fuck all yall.

  • The Truth says:

    Genius…go watch the Shields\Verissimo fight again. The guy tapped!

  • LR says:

    Shields was raining blows onto Charuto? All I saw was a bunch of
    love taps. They have a camera angle of Charuto on the bottom and he looked more annoyed than hurt from the damage. He still had his eyes open, was still pretty coherent, didn’t look dazed at all, but he wasn’t doing a damn thing. Shields need to get some power, weakest ground and pound from a mount ever.

  • GonzoDamon says:

    I’m glad someone else saw that too!

    Why are people talking about the “brutal attack” or “rain of death” that Shields supposedly dropped on Charuto. Seriously, those were not deadly strikes and I really don’t agree with the stoppage in this case.

    I wanted Shields to win, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to see him win impressively. He was handling his business, which was impressive, I just don’t think that those were fight ending strikes. Sports and athletes evolve to suit the environment. Fighters know that, particularly with the newish mainstream attention, refs aren’t looking to see death in a ring. (Besides Yamasaki, of course.)

    Many fighters have done that same thing, paced out weaker blows that are supposed to look kinda flashy and get the ref to stop the fight. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t ask Jake to come demonstrate on my moms, but those blows weren’t the deadly kind where intelligent defense is the fulcrum to end the fight. It seems to me that Charuto wasn’t really defending them because they weren’t hurting…

    Fightlinker, didn’t you count 60 blows? How many fighters do you honestly believe can deliver 60 straight power blows near the end of a round without completely tiring out. I don’t think that a fighter would get through that many at fight ending power…

    Eh…at least one person agreed with me…

  • Classy Dude... says:

    I disagree.

    Mario did a great job.

    This MMA and not boxing, so unless you’re going to stop a fight every time a fighter falls from a punch or kick, then this is how it has to be.

    WTG Mario.

  • Jason Bennett says:


    It seems most fans and pundits alike all want something to talk about; something to put ‘their’ discussion into the atmosphere. What better way than to make baseless attacks on the undeserving or unexpected. Mario did a fantastic job making sure these fights were not stopped too early. Let’s all be honest here, if he had stopped either of those fights (Lawler/Rua or Shields/Charuto) when the striking got started – there would be outcry being stopped early (thus the absurd Herb Dean arguments). Ninja was hurt but I could only accept the argument that MAYBE one too many blows went down, no fault to Lawler of course. In the Shields fight, the majority of those blows did not even land solid, until the finish.

    If you need examples of terrible reffing decisions (or non-decisions) check out nearly any Hero’s event; most recently Kid Yamamoto vs Bibiano Fernandes. Then come back with how fair refs like Mario Yamasaki and Herb Dean truly are.

  • What’s this Yamamoto – Fernandes you speak of? I didn’t notice anything strange about that???????

  • Cyrus says:

    Actually, I have to change my mind and agree with Jason Bennett. It might be a little questionable of a call, but compared to the judges that exist out there – Yamasaki is Jesus incarnate. A guy at my gym had a fight in Russia and took about 9 calculated hammer fists to the face while unconscious. He’s now got no nerves that work in the right side of his jaw. I’m sure he would have liked to fight under Yamasaki’s reffing.

  • Lance Ito says:

    People are becoming too soft. We are constantly complaining about fights being stopped too early. The fighters know they can get hurt. Most of them I think would rather win or lose on their actions and not on the referee’s whims. How many Sell/Quarry decisions have we seen in the last 2 years?

  • Haulport says:

    Disagree. Lawler always keeps going on his opponents and Mario let Ninja try and get out but instead he got knocked out. Shields didn’t even scratch Charuto’s face with all “60” punches (see Charuto’s interview with Jason Miller after the fight – he even mentions his face was fine). So I guess according to this blogger all you have to do is get a fighter stuck and then play pitty-pat and you have just nearly beaten the guy to death.

  • Man, I’m really getting tempted to do a video of the beating Shields was dropping on Charuto