Erick Silva was disqualified for hitting Carlo Prater in the back of the head in their main card fight at UFC 142. Silva looked to have won the fight by technical knockout in the first round, but referee Mario Yamasaki saw it differently.
Prater ate a hard knee from his opponent before falling to the ground. Silva continued striking on the ground, landing hammer fists in an effort to finish. The referee stepped in to stop the action and Silva raised his hands, assuming he won the fight.
A short while later, it was announced that Yamasaki disqualified Silva for landing strikes to the back of Prater’s head. Replays showed several shots to the side of Prater’s head, but Yamasaki advised that he had to make a call in the moment and saw strikes to the rear of Prater’s skull.
Even UFC color commentator Joe Rogan felt that Yamasaki’s call was wrong and expressed that opinion in his post fight interview with the referee.
“I was telling him, ‘don’t hit the back of the head,'” Yamasaki said following the disqualification. “I have to decide right then and there. There’s nothing else I can do.”
With the disqualification being dealt out, Silva advised he respects Yamasaki as a referee, but disagrees with his decision.
“I have great respect for the referee,” he said. “I don’t think I hit the back of the head.”