Fitch was the favored fighter coming into the WSOF 3 main event, but somebody forgot to tell Burkman that he wasn’t supposed to win.
The two fighters engaged right away, Fitch moving into Burkman’s wheelhouse where he ate a couple hard punches that dropped him to the mat. Burkman tried to land some follow-up punches, but didn’t have a clean shot at Fitch’s face.
Instead of landing shots to the back of the head, he shifted gears and went for the guillotine choke.
“I didn’t want to go for this choke, but I just felt that it was tight,” said Burkman after the fight.
Tight it was. Burkman locked up the choke, fell to the mat, and put Fitch to sleep.
While referee Steve Mazzagatti stood over them watching, Fitch fell limp and Burkman, realizing he was out, let go of the hold and stood up. As Burkman turned his back, Mazzagatti knelt down over Fitch and waved off the fight.
Mazzagatti immediately received a firestorm of criticism for not making a move to check on Fitch until Burkman had already released the hold and stood up. Even UFC president Dana White, a longtime vocal critic of Mazzagatti, commented on Twitter calling on the Nevada Athletic Commission to do address Mazzagatti’s performance.
“Glad Burkman stopped. Mazzagatti is a clueless idiot who will hurt someone and continue to ruin guys legacies. Much respect Josh,” tweeted White. “NSAC needs to seriously do something!! When you have been a ref that long and still don’t know what u r doing its time to go away!!!!!”
It took Burkman just 41 seconds to set up his next fight, which is expected to be for the WSOF welterweight championship.
“Stay tuned for the next one. It’s gonna be for my belt,” he declared.
Fitch tried to state his case for a rematch, saying, “I think we should do it again. Let’s do it again, let’s do it for five, and let’s do it for that belt.”
In the lead-up to the event, however, the talk was leaning towards the winner of the fight facing the winner of the co-main event between Steve Carl and Tyson Steele for the belt, although there was no immediate confirmation of that or of a rematch.
Carl was the winner of co-main event. He deflected numerous spinning back kicks from Steele, who looked hesitant to close the distance. When Steele finally did shoot for a takedown, Carl scrambled and locked on a tight rear naked choke, forcing Steele to tap out at the 92-second mark of the opening round.
In earlier action, newly signed UFC veteran Jacob Volkmann ground out a unanimous decision over former Strikeforce fighter Lyle Beerbohm. Rising lightweight Justin Gaethje continued to impress, weathering an early storm by Brian Cobb before chopping him down with leg kicks, forcing the referee to stop the fight in the third round.
-Josh Burkman def. Jon Fitch by Technical Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:41, R1
-Steve Carl def. Tyson Steele by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:32, R1
-Jacob Volkmann def. Lyle Beerbohm by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Justin Gaethje def. Brian Cobb by TKO (Leg Kicks) at 2:19, R3
-Jerrod Sanders def. Jeff Smith by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Dan Lauzon def. John Gunderson by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Carson Beebe def. Joe Murphy by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Krasimir Mladenov def. Kendrick Miree by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Branson Hansen def. Josh Montalvo by Unanimous Decision, R3
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