Stoolgate: Tim Kennedy irate about controversial loss to Yoel Romero
Tim Kennedy was not a happy man following his loss to Yoel Romero, but he might not have much of a case if he protests.
Kennedy rocked Romero near the end of the second round and almost finished him at UFC 178 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Romero was saved by the bell and went back to his corner. That’s when things got bizarre.
When the fight was set to resume, Kennedy was ready, but Romero was still in his corner sitting on his stool. The UFC’s cutman put too much Vaseline on Romero’s face and Romero’s cornermen apparently didn’t understand that one of them had to come and wipe it off.
There was also no clear explanation as to why the stool remained in the Octagon even after the cornermen had left. Referee John McCarthy urged Romero to fight, but he ended up getting an extra 28 seconds — which could have made all the difference.
When Romero did come out, he landed big punches and ended up knocking Kennedy out. Afterward, Kennedy said he would appeal the fight with the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC). He tweeted an excerpt from the NAC’s rules that says a fighter not able to answer the round should lose by TKO.
NAC 467.728 If a combatant fails or refuses to resume competing when the bell sounds…the referee shall award a decision of TKO
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) September 28, 2014
"I’m super disappointed and pissed," Kennedy told MMAjunkie. "In all my years in the sport I have never seen such a blatant cheat."
NAC executive director Bob Bennett said the chances of results being overturned on appeal are usually "slim to none." He said he had to look at the tape again to determine what happened in this particular instance, but he didn’t find it to be that blatant.
"I think the end result would have been the same," Bennett said.
White called a corner leaving too much Vaseline on a fighter’s face to buy time "the dirtiest trick in the book." But it wasn’t Romero’s team applying the Vaseline in this case. It was the UFC’s cutman.
"It’s very unfortunate," White said. "It’s an odd thing that absolutely never happens."
UFC social media caught an angry Kennedy confronting Romero afterward while Romero seemed to be apologetic. Kennedy came in ranked No. 6 among middleweight contenders and Romero was No. 10, so this was a pivotal fight in the 185-pound division. White didn’t seem too keen on a rematch between the two when asked.
Kennedy and Romero both took home a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus for their performances, so maybe that will ease some of Kennedy’s pain. When Romero was asked in the post-fight press conference if the extra time helped him in the third round, he was fairly honest.
"Maybe," Romero said. "I don’t know."
Romero told Ariel Helwani on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show that McCarthy told him to clean the Vaseline off, so his corner did. He said it wasn’t his fault that he got extra time.
"I don’t know what happened," Romero said. "When the referee said ‘go fight,’ I go."