Jessica-Rose Clark defeated Sarah Alpar by TKO (Strikes, Round 3, 4:21) at UFC on ESPN+36 this weekend. Shortly prior to the official stoppage Clark struck Alpar with a knee to the head as Alpar was precariously close to being grounded.
Referee Chris Tognoni believed a foul occurred and called time out.
As Alpar was recovering Tognoni realized he was in error. During the live broadcast it was unclear if he watched instant replay or consulted with other officials but one way or another came to realize no foul occurred. The bout resumed and Clark went on to victory.
For reasons that remain unclear the UFC broadcast team keeps stating that instant replay can only be used following a bout ending sequences and suggested that is what occurred. The broadcast team was wrong on both fronts.
While Nevada rules do allow a referee to use instant replay after a bout ending sequence here the bout did not end. Tognoni clearly stated that he never called off the bout. There was no bout ending sequence. Instead, Tognoni used the powers under NAC 476.682 subsection 5 which clearly notes that “The referee may, at any time during a contest or exhibition, call a time-out to consult with officials of the Commission or to view replay footage“.
Kevin Iole promptly obtained comment from the Nevada Athletic Commission who confirmed this is what occurred. According to Iole the NAC noted as follows:
“It was a legal strike. They paused the fight because they thought it was a knee to a grounded opponent. They went to the replay and confirmed that it was a legal strike. The fight was never officially stopped. Sarah Alpar was asked if she could continue and if she wanted to continue, and she said yes. Under NSAC rules, the bout can continue after replay since the fight was only temporarily paused and never officially stopped.”
The relevant rules surrounding replay and the different circumstances in which it can be used in Nevada reads as follows:
1. A referee is responsible for enforcing the rules of the contest or exhibition. The referee shall not permit unfair practices that may cause injuries to an unarmed combatant. The referee is the sole arbitrator of a bout, and the referee’s decisions in enforcing the rules of a contest or exhibition, declaring fouls or stopping a contest or exhibition may not be overturned except as otherwise provided pursuant to subsection 3 of NAC 467.770 after a hearing before the Commission.
2. The referee shall warn the unarmed combatants whenever they are committing fouls.
3. If an unarmed combatant commits a foul, the referee may deduct points from the unarmed combatant or disqualify him or her.
4. At the conclusion of a contest or exhibition stopped immediately because of an injury to an unarmed combatant pursuant to NAC 467.718, a referee may view a replay, if available, in order to determine whether the injury in question was caused by a legal blow or a foul. If the determination is made that the injury was the result of:
(a) A legal blow, the injured unarmed combatant must be determined to have lost the contest via technical knockout.
(b) A foul, it must be determined whether the foul was intentional or accidental. If deemed:
(1) Intentional, the outcome of the contest must be determined in accord with NAC 467.698; or
5. The referee may, at any time during a contest or exhibition, call a time-out to consult with officials of the Commission or to view replay footage