UFC 251 news: Ref loses his cool after Roman Bogatov produces three illegal blows in one round


Britain's Marc Goddard has long-held a reputation as one of the best referees in all of Mixed Martial Arts.

It is this reputation that saw UFC call upon him to be one of the officials that the promotion took to Abu Dhabi to take charge of their "Fight Island" cards.

Having been a referee since 2004, it is fair to say that Goddard has seen a great deal during his time in the sport. There cannot, though, have been many occasions where Goddard has been forced to order three stoppages for foul play in the space of less than a round.

However, that is exactly what happened at UFC 251 during the preliminary bout between Leonardo Santos and Roman Bogatov.

Going into the lightweight fight, Bogatov was undefeated in his professional campaign, having won all of his 10 previous bouts. However, the Russian struggled to show his usual dominance in the first two rounds of his contest against Brazil's Santos - and needed a strong third-round performance to keep himself in the fight.

As seen in the BT Sport YouTube video below, which incorrectly states the three blows occurred over two rounds, Bogatov lands a hard knee to the groin of Santos, leaving him crumpled in pain on the mat.

The illegal shot causes Goddard to immediately call a temporary halt to the action. Despite Bogatov's low blow, though, the fight is allowed to continue.

A few minutes later, Bogatov again lands another knee strike to Santos' cup. At this point, it would have been more than justified for Goddard to deduct points from the Russian, but the referee instead opts to warn Bogatov for a second time.

Astonishingly, though, this was not the end of the story. With little over a minute of the fight left, Bogatov commits yet another foul - this time landing a knee squarely to the head of a grounded Santos.

On this occasion, a shocked Goddard had to take strict action: "Whoa...What are you doing?" Goddard exclaims to Bogatov, before deducting him two points for his latest infringement. 


The bout would see the final horn, with Santos being awarded a trio of 29-26 decisions.

On many other nights - and with many other referees - Bogatov would likely have been disqualified before the judges were required.

A truly remarkable example of a fighter completely losing his head!

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