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Jason High Says 'I Was Out of Line' for Shoving Ref, 'Surprised' by UFC Release

Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jason High looks on before his welterweight bout against Anthony Lapsley during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2014

Popular fighter Jason High expressed remorse Monday for shoving a referee in the cage following a recent loss but said he was surprised by the UFC's decision to release him over the incident.

"I was a little surprised, for sure," High said Monday on The MMA Hour broadcast with host Ariel Helwani. "I found out on Twitter just like everybody else."

On June 7, High, making his lightweight debut, lost by TKO to top division contender Rafael dos Anjos. Late in the second round, Dos Anjos dropped High with a big punch then followed up with ground strikes. 

High looked to be in serious trouble when referee Kevin Mulhall stepped in to wave off the action at the 3:36 mark of the second round. However, High took issue with the stoppage and shoved Mulhall seconds after the stoppage was called.

"It's not something that I planned on doing, obviously," High said Monday. "I lost my temper, and I was out of line. ... I would have liked to have more time to fight my way out of it."

Soon after that, High took to Twitter to apologize:

Incredibly sorry & embarrassed for the ref incident. Will never happen again.

— Marcelino Evil (@KCBanditMMA) June 8, 2014

But the mea culpa was to no avail, as the UFC announced on its website that High would be released three days after UFC Fight Night 42.

"He's cut," UFC president Dana White said at the time. "You don't ever, ever f-----g touch a referee, ever. You’re done here. He’s been apologizing on Twitter, but he's done."

High, 32, is now 18-5 in his pro career, including a 2-2 record in his current run with the UFC. The New Mexico Athletic Commission is scheduled to meet this week to discuss whether it will mete out its own discipline for High, possibly including a fine or suspension.

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