Mario Yamasaki Issues Response to Shevchenko vs. Cachoeira Firestorm

February 5, 2018

Veteran referee Mario Yamasaki has been mired under a mountain of scrutiny for his handling of the UFC Fight Night 125 co-main event but between Valentina Shevchenko and Priscila Cachoeira on Saturday night in Belém, Brazil.

Feeling the wrath of pundits, fans, and UFC president Dana White, Yamasaki issued a statement to MMAFighting on Monday, explaining his side of the story, admitting that there were points that he could have stopped the fight sooner.

Shevchenko lit Cachoeira up from the opening bell, staggering her on several occasions with her punch combinations before taking her to the canvas. Shevchenko quickly busted Cachoeira open with punches and elbows on the ground, blood pouring onto the mat, as she continued her assault for several minutes until the horn ended the round.

Priscila Cachoeira punched by Valentina ShevchenkoCachoeira survived the opening round, despite later revealing that she had suffered a knee injury early on. But Shevchenko immediately planted her back to the canvas to start round two, twice putting her in a crucifix position, pummeling her with heavy shots to the face, but Yamasaki never called a halt to the fight. 

Shevchenko eventually mounted Cachoeira, forced her to turn to her stomach, and then submitted her with a rear-naked choke, mercifully putting an end to the bout.

It was a complete shutout, but Cachoeira gave everything she had to try and stay in the fight. Yamasaki admitted on Monday that he gave her every opportunity to continue.

“During the second round, I signaled to ‘Pedrita’ that if she didn’t move I’d stop the fight, and every time I’d stop, I told her and she moved to try to escape from the punches. Unfortunately, I also can’t control the number of blows thrown — again, when a fighter is trying to come back she’s game,” Yamasaki told MMAFighting.

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“Fighters go through times of hard effort and dedication to be there. MMA is a contact sport and no fighter likes his fight to be stopped with no chance to revert the result. In my opinion, I allowed Pedrita to be a warrior and keep fighting. I could have stopped the fight in the second crucifix or in the mount, but she moved the whole time.

“I also recognize that I should have stopped when she tapped the first time to the rear-naked choke. I only stopped a few seconds later.

“About other people’s opinions, it’s their right to say.”

Cachoeira received a potential six-month medical suspension stemming from the beating she took in the UFC Fight Night 125 bout with Shevchenko.

(Photo courtesy of Dana White, UFC)