Any fan who regularly watched mixed martial arts fights, whether in the UFC or elsewhere, has seen a bad stoppage.
Sometimes fights are stopped too soon, when a fighter is clearly intelligently defending themselves. But other times it’s the opposite, and that’s the far worse situation.
There are few worse feelings as a fan than seeing a fight go on for far too long after a fighter has either passed out, been knocked out, or tapped out.
Nothing, however, compares to a recent scene at a Fury FC card in San Antonio, Texas.
Referee Frank Collazo is the subject attention after a fight between Edgar Cháirez and Gianni Vazquez. Chairez puts Vazquez in a triangle choke early in the fourth round. Shortly after, Vazquez passes out, which should have stopped the fight.
Chairez noticed that Vasquez was out. The fight commentators and ringside doctors noticed. Viewers noticed. But somehow, Collazo did not. Instead, Vasquez remained in the choke for around 15 seconds before Chairez transitioned to an armbar. Vasquez then awoke to his arm being cranked on before coming to shortly after and tapping out.
The frightening scene was difficult to watch.
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
Now Fury FC promoter Eric Garcia is speaking out and wants to know how things went so wrong.
“I stand up and I start screaming, like, ‘Hey, the fight is over. It’s over. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop the fight.’ Nothing. Brandon is screaming. Rich is on the camera stand screaming saying, ‘Hey, it’s over, stop it,’ trying to get Frank’s attention. Nothing. At that point, I run from the table I’m sitting at, and I try to run over to where the cage door is, because I was going to try to get up the stairs and say, ‘Hey, it’s over.’ By that time, Gianni had came to and he tapped, and Frank stopped the fight,” Garcia told Nolan King of MMA Junkie.
Collazo, meanwhile, told Garcia that he didn’t think Vazquez was out.
“I was like, ‘Frank, what the f*ck happened? What’s going on? This kid was asleep,’” Garcia said of the moment he got in the cage post-fight. “He’s like, ‘He wasn’t asleep.’ I said, ‘He was out, man. He went out.’ He’s like, ‘He wasn’t out. I had my eyes on him the whole time. He wasn’t out.’ I don’t know what he saw, but it certainly wasn’t what we saw.” – via MMA Junkie
Collazo has not yet faced any punishment. But Garcia wants to see him held accountable.
“I just hope there are some sort of repercussions that the state can put in place that says, ‘Hey, if you’re the referee involved, there are going to be some repercussions for this. You’re going to have to sit out for a certain amount of time. You’re going to have to go through these training courses again. You’re going to have to do something that shows you’re capable of not letting it happen again,’” Garcia said. “He could’ve lost his life, and what would’ve happened then?”
Thankfully, Vazquez appeared to be to okay after the fight other than damage to his arm from the armbar. But the situation could have been far, far worse.