UFC

Miller to appeal UFC Fight Night loss

Manny Gamburyan complains about an illegal elbow suffered in his UFC featherweight bout against Cole Miller
Manny Gamburyan complains about a potentially illegal elbow.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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The way Cole Miller sees it, he won his Saturday night UFC bout against Manny Gamburyan twice. Once by knockout, once by decision. One mistake he can live with. He's been around the fight game long enough to know that judges sometimes get it wrong. But the other, he cannot accept, at least not now.

Miller told FOX Sports on Monday that he will appeal the outcome of his UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen bout due to referee Yves Lavigne's ruling that allowed the fight to extend past what could have been ruled a first-round technical knockout.

(L-R) Cole Miller punches Manny Gamburyan in their UFC featherweight bout

Cole Miller punches Manny Gamburyan in their UFC featherweight bout.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

The ruling in question came following the final seconds of the round. As Gamburyan was going low for a takedown, Miller elbowed him to the head twice. That's when things took a strange turn. The horn sounded and Lavigne stopped the action, but Gamburyan did not get up. Instead, as Miller padded his fall, Gamburyan sat back on the canvas and held the back of his head.

Time passed and the one-minute break between the first and second rounds was nearing its end, and for some reason, there seemed to be no sense that the fight's outcome was hanging in the balance. When a fighter can't answer the bell due to a legal strike, the match is ruled over. Adding to the bizarre situation, Gamburyan and one of his corners, Ronda Rousey, were just feet away from where Miller was receiving his own corner instructions.

Gamburyan eventually got up and walked back to his corner, but with help from Rousey and cutman Jacob "Stitch" Duran. Seventy seconds past the expiration of the round, Lavigne told the corners to leave the cage, but then he invited the cageside doctor to check Gamburyan, who was still blinking his eyes and visibly shaken. Finally, after two minutes -- one minute longer than a regulation break -- the action started for the second.

"It was just real odd," Miller told FOX Sports. "The referee didn't give any indication the fight was over, he also didn't signal it was a foul. I looked at Manny and then the ref to see what was going on. I had my hand on Manny in a sportsmanlike way to sort of encourage the process and get things moving.

"A referee doesn't have to say if a strike is legal, a referee has to say if a strike was illegal," he continued. "No indication was made, but after the fight, the strike was deemed legal. The referee said it was a legal strike. To me, I've seen the footage and they all seem to indicate a legal strike."

Because the strikes in question were deemed legal and Gamburyan needed far longer than one minute to recover, Miller believes the correct outcome would have been a TKO in his favor. As a result, he said his team plans to present a motion for appeal at an upcoming Sept. 12 meeting of the Massachusetts state athletic commission, which oversaw the contest at the TD Garden.

Despite the move, he does not feel confident that the outcome will change.

"You see these types of things happen often, and very rarely does it go to the fighter making the dispute," he said.

Miller said he doesn't hold anything against Gamburyan, and in fact, credited him for continuing on despite the adversity. In his opinion, the fighter has to keep his head in the match at all times, which is why he didn't protest the decision as it happened. But with the benefit of hindsight, he can't help but think he was robbed of a victory.

Miller can take some solace in the fact that UFC president Dana White said he believed the fight should have been stopped in his favor, but that's not quite enough. After all, losses have real-life repercussions. He's now 1-3 at featherweight, but there's no asterisk to remind people of just how that happened.

“I just know that fighters can't get two minutes between rounds because they can't answer the bell when their head hurts due to a legal strike,” he said. "That's not the way the rules work. I can only hope that they see it my way and declare it a no contest."

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