Rivera and his camp had contested Faber’s victory over him because there was an accidental eye poke in the moments leading up to the finish.
No one denies the eye poke, including Faber, but the rules currently in place for the Nevada Athletic Commission do not allow for a change in the outcome in this instance.
Rivera suffered an eye poke in the moments before the end of the fight, but the eye poke itself did not stop the fight. The referee, Mario Yamasaki, did not see the eye poke, so the fight continued as if it never happened, with Faber eventually finishing the fight with a bulldog choke.
In order for the outcome of the fight to be altered, Yamasaki would have had to misinterpreted one of Nevada’s rules, according to Deputy Attorney General Christopher Eccles. Eccles argued that Yamasaki did not misinterpret a rule, he simply did not see the eye poke occur.
Had Yamasaki halted the fight believing there may have been an eye poke, he could have used Nevada’s allowance for instant replay to verify the eye poke, but instant replay did not come into play because Yamasaki did not suspect the eye poke and did not halt the fight.
The commission on Tuesday unanimously determined that the outcome of the bout, under current rules and regulations, could not be changed even though there was no question – after the fact – that there was an accidental eye poke in the lead-up to the fight-ending choke.
The commission also determined that there is a real need to review the rules and determine if there is a better way to deal with eye pokes, which seem so prevalent in mixed martial arts. That discussion, however, will come at a later date.