UFC 102 was one of the greatest cards to go down in recent history. The card was lined with brutal knockouts and back-and-forth wars.
However, all of that could of easily been overshadowed by a near-disastrous failure at the hands of referee Yves Lavigne.
Midway into the third round of the fight between Chris Leben and Jake Rosholt, Lavigne showed his greatest flaw as an official inside the octagon: His indecisiveness and inconsistency.
Rosholt had a blood-restricting arm triangle on lock-down over Leben. After a few moments, Leben reluctantly tapped before blacking out mid-tap.
Fans saw Lavigne jump forward as if to stop the fight, but then he hesitated before finally breaking up the choke.
What happened next made any true fan of the sport cringe and hold their breath. Leben began to convulse in the center of the ring while the doctors rushed to his aid.
Thankfully, Leben awoke seconds later and appeared to be doing well.
Many fans were relieved that the first death inside the octagon was avoided, but the question is: With slight hesitations shown by some referees, how long will it take for a death to happen?
That's why many fans are calling for the head of Lavigne, because his inconsistency and hesitation could be the death of a fighter.
An example of his hesitation is the fight between Matt Brown and Pete Sell—a fight where even Lavigne admits he screwed up. Brown was clearly out-striking a semi-conscious Sell, pushing him around as it were nothing.
Sell fell to his back from a light shove, and Brown looked to Yves as if he were saying: "Come on, call the fight!"
A couple of unnecessary punches later, and the fight was finally stopped.
Another example of his inconsistency is the controversial decision with the Phillipe Nover and Kyle Bradley fight. It appeared Nover was out when Lavigne stepped in and tried to pull Bradley away, but Nover was clearly moving and defending himself.
After a few confusing seconds, Lavigne stepped in and called the fight as Nover was climbing to his feet.
Another example of flawed traits was during the Roger Huerta and John Halverson fight. After a controversial knee on the ground, Halverson flopped to his stomach, where Huerta delivered punishment to the sides of his head for several seconds before Lavigne finally stepped in.
No one can say that Lavigne hasn't made any good decisions inside the octagon, but due to recent controversy, maybe it's time for Lavigne to find a new line of work.
A death inside the cage would easily be the fall of a prosperous sport, and a very sad day for millions of armchair fighters.
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