At UFC Fight Night 95 Roy Nelson unceremoniously kicked referee John McCarthy after a perceived late stoppage. This upset the heavyweight who believes he had to then inflict unnecessary damage on his opponent.
Brazil’s Superior Justice Court of Sport reviewed the matter and have now handed Nelson a $24,000 fine and a 9 month suspension.
The maximum penalty, according to the STJDMMA, would be a 25-month suspension and $40,000 fine. However, the court informed MMA Fighting on Wednesday that STJDMMA president Marcelo Sedlmayer Jorge had decided to hand Nelson a nine-month suspension, retroactive to Sept. 29, as well as a $24,000 fine.
According to the STJDMMA, Nelson mentioned in his defense that he was afraid due to some pre-fight situations, including the way Brazilian MMA fans behaved at the weigh-ins. The STJDMMA also said that Nelson mentioned his complicated relationship with McCarthy, but stated that he never intended to hurt the referee.
The STJDMMA accepted Nelson’s explanation, but said that it wouldn’t be enough to avoid punishment, because “the athlete has an obligation to respect the honor, preserve the health, and physical and moral integrity of the referee,” and nothing justified Nelson’s actions.
Jorge initially considered handing Nelson a one-year suspension with $33,000 fine. However, based on Nelson’s history, and the fact that he didn’t intend to hurt McCarthy, the STJDMMA reduced his punishment to a nine-month suspension and $24,000 fine.
Nelson still has a chance to return before June 29 though. The STJDMMA is offering the heavyweight a chance to reduce his punishment to a six-month suspension and $13,700 fine if the UFC allows him to formally apologize to McCarthy inside the Octagon or during some form of press conference, preferably if McCarthy is attending, before Dec. 31. If he does that, Nelson would be free to compete after March 29.