So does MMA Junkie’s Dr Benjamin:
I took issue via Twitter (@drjcbenjamin) with the lack of intervention by the referee prior to the injury to Tate’s elbow. That was the second episode in the fight that a deep and prolonged joint lock had been applied to Tate’s left elbow. As it was agonizingly and slowly hyper-extending, the referee watched and decided not to issue a stern verbal warning to “immediately improve your position, or I’ll stop this fight!”
Well, we all viewed the aftermath.
Like it or not, the referee has a responsibility to protect a fighter from suffering unnecessary harm or injury when the fighter is not or cannot intelligently defend. A deep joint lock is more dangerous than a fighter turtled up getting pummeled with ground and pound – a situation that is commonly stopped via TKO.
I was pretty okay with what happened, mainly because it was dramatic as hell and I’m not going to be the one who has to deal with the painful clicking in my elbow for the rest of my life. How will Miesha be able to find a husband if her dish scrubbing arm is all jacked up???
But it’s hard not to see Benjamin’s point. He revealed himself as a bit of a sexist dolt when he tried to convince the world that women shouldn’t fight five minute rounds, but I think this column would have been the same regardless of if it was a chick or a dude getting their arm destroyed. 99.9% of the time, the ref steps in as soon as the elbow pops backwards.
The tricky part was that Ronda hit that point on Miesha a minute into the fight and Miesha promptly escaped and continued to fight on. That combined with the title implications left the ref in a situation where stopping the fight without a tap would have discounted everything Tate had done to make it to that point. The message from that first armbar was that Miesha didn’t give a sh*t about the arm, so who was the ref to disagree?
“Just the guy who’s supposed to protect stubborn idiots from themselves” you say? Touche.