Cape Town - Saturday EFC 65 main event between
EFC light heavyweight champion ‘Champion’ Dalcha Lungiambula and challenger
Stuart Austin ended in one of the biggest comeback victories of all time, but also
Basson called a stop to the bout in the second round, ruling Dalcha the winner
by TKO, but many insist that he could just as easily have stopped the fight in
the first, in that instance ruling Austin the winner by TKO.
A host of
commentators, including Austin, aired their thoughts on his decision and
criticised him for the call.
Via Facebook on Sunday morning, Ferdi Basson
formally released a statement:
“Last night I reffed a
really important title fight with a lot of hype around it at EFC65. Does the
hype play a role for me, NO, but the title on the line does.
Why do I take the time to write this up;
1) Out of respect for the fighters, especially
the two warriors Stuart Austin and Champion Dalcha. Last night they came out to
really contest the rightful owner of the title.
2) Out of
respect for the supporters and spectators, letting them understand my decision
Why did I not stop it at the end of round 1, but
stopped it in the middle of the 2nd round?
Did the time left in the round play a factor?
Yes, it certainly did. It determines how much more time is available for the
fighter to rain down punishment on his opponent.
Was Stuart Austin raining down punishment on
Champion towards the end of round one? He certainly did, and when I warned
Champion to intelligently defend himself, Stuart turned on the urgency of his
attack, but also dropped his accuracy and shots started to miss the target much
more. This bought Champion more time, and also gave him the opportunity to
punch back. Even though this was not great defensively, it definitely showed he
was still in the fight. With the reduced accuracy attack of Austin, I would've
let it go another 20-25 seconds, as Champion was trapped against the cage, and
was not making any headway in escaping. Fortunately for Champion there were
only 10 seconds left.
When the tables were turned in round 2, Dalcha
had a couple of minutes left to rain down heavy hammer fists, and despite 4
warnings to Stuart he did not improve position and regressed into a full fetal
position with no attempt to fight back, signaling to me through his body
language that he didn't want to be there anymore.
Title fights and consistency: Do I (or any ref
for that matter) let title fights go that little bit further? Yes, within
reasonable and safe limits. This courtesy is afforded to both contestants, they
have earned it, and there's more on the line for them.
So if Champion was fine at the end of round 1,
why did I call in the doctor?
There was a pre-existing medical concern
that was discussed between the medical team and me, and as always
fighter safety trumps all of my other duties.
What did Stuart say to me in the cage after the
I asked Stuart if he was OK? He replied: Yes, my
arms were just blown out.
If you want to debate the number of
un-answered shots rule then I suggest you read the Unified MMA rules again.
Did I convince you that I was right? That was
not the point! I wanted the supporters to understand my decision, and from
there make up their mind.”