RKheadshotTwenty-eight seconds doesn’t seem like much. But it can be an eternity for a fighter. Enough time to regroup, to change the entire course of a fight. At UFC 178, it was enough time to go into the history book as being the most controversial outcome not involving a judge or a post fight drug test.

Middleweight Tim Kennedy had all the momentum with a barrage of strikes that had Yoel Romero reeling as the second round came to a close. Such an overpowering performance that Kennedy thought the fight might be stopped before the third round even started.

And it took almost fifty percent longer than the allotted minute for that round to begin. Romero stayed on his stool long enough to claim squatter rights as his corner delayed. There was too much Vaseline on his face, reflecting the punishment he had recently received.

Finally the third began and Romero was a new man, and in a remarkable table turning showing, he finished Kennedy thirty-eight seconds into the round with a TKO.

Kennedy understandably was furious with the delay that cost him the victory. The military veteran handled it in such fashion, firm and direct that referee John McCarthy should have done something. The UFC cut man should have take care of the excessive grease much sooner.

His camp wants to protest to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but Kennedy it seems, is content that he spoke his mind and while upset, is going forward.

That is not only a classy way to handle the otherwise bumbling mistakes made in that corner of the octagon, it might be the only way.

Romero can’t be blamed for squeezing every precious second out of that interlude. It isn’t something new in MMA, or all of fighting or sports for that matter. The North Carolina State football coach issued an apology to Florida State for insinuating their players faked injuries to squash momentum NCS had. It is a sneaky ploy and an accepted part of the sports games to try to throw the opponent off.

McCarthy, making a return to octagon action, is well regarded as the prototype MMA ref and the UFC has used their own cut men to avoid any questionable doings between rounds as well as insure quality care for their fighters.

Above all, Kennedy has one of the most legitimate beefs ever for a fighter to have. He waited and waited and waited to charge out of his corner and finish what he was seconds away from doing before the bell.

There might not be enough fingers to point at this mess. The NSAC should look into it with discerning efficiency as well as the UFC.
At what point should a fighter be ruled defeated if he purposely kills time?
How can too much Vaseline be determined, and how soon?
Why should the referee emphatically demand fight or quit?
And should the governing bodies be more involved in issuing their own protest instead of waiting for the fighter, especially in a situation with many to blame other than the guy who had been winning?

A lot of questions to be answered. The only thing not in question is that Tim Kennedy got a raw deal. A fighter spends months preparing for the moment, it shouldn’t be determined by twenty-eight seconds.


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