Israel Adesanya doesn’t hold any ill will towards referee Marc Goddard for the decision to stop his fight against Alex Pereira at UFC 281 even if he wishes he had time to continue.

The end came just over two minutes into the final round with Pereira hit Adesanya with a flurry of punches, which included a brief knockdown, before Goddard swooped in to stop the fight before any further damage was dished out. Days later, Adesanya protested the stoppage while saying he was completely “lucid” during the exchange and he was just awaiting the opportunity to stage his comeback.

UFC welterweight Matt Brown, who co-hosts The Fighter vs. The Writer, understands the argument for a good stoppage, although he’ll likely always side with the Adesanya when it comes down to how the fight should have been handled.

“I didn’t think it was a bad stoppage but I would have liked to see him let it go longer,” Brown said. “I don’t hate that he stopped it the way that he did, the time he did but I would have liked to see it [continue]. If I was the ref, I would have let it go longer.

“The fact is I don’t think Izzy was getting out of there. I don’t think Izzy thought he was getting out of there. I don’t think anybody thinks he was going to get out of there but in this sport, we have seen crazier things. This sport just never fails to blow your mind. I would have liked to see him given the chance and I would have given him the chance but I also don’t hate the ref for stopping it when he did. I mean he was taking shots and when he did stop it, Izzy took a really, really hard shot.”

Much like Adesanya argued during an appearance on The MMA Hour, Brown saw him still moving and attempting to duck and dodge shots even if some of the blows from Pereira were landing.

Brown also knows the stakes in a fight like this are so much higher, which only adds to his insistence that the referee should have given Adesanya every chance to survive until it was clear he couldn’t continue.

“The reason if I were the ref I would have let them have a little bit more time, he still had his bearings about him,” Brown explained. “He was still attempting to dodge shots, whether he was successful at it or not he was at least attempting. This is also a world title fight. You’ve got to recognize this is the fifth round of a world title fight. You know the fighters. You know the guy’s a multiple time world champion. You’ve got to respect those kinds of things.

“90 percent of the time, I’m an advocate that they should have let it go longer, whether it’s me or someone else. That’s just the sport that we’re in. They should give you every chance that you have to get out of there.”

As a victim of what he believes have been poor stoppages in the past. Brown understands the optics and potential danger from referees allowing fights to continue until one athlete is rendered completely unconscious.

That said, Brown knows what he signed up for when he decided to become a professional fighter and it’s the same agreement everyone makes when they chose combat sports as a career.

“We don’t want to err on the side of caution,” Brown said. “We’d rather get flatlined and be carried out on a stretcher. That’s just the risk that we’re willing to take. I understand with commissions and there are actual health practitioners that judge this stuff and watch it and politicians. There’s all these things in play that have an effect on this but us as fighters, I guarantee there’s not a single one of us that doesn’t want to go out on our shield or on a stretcher.

“We’ll die in there. We’re never going to say it’s too late. That’s kind of where I’m at with that. I’m with Izzy, bring back Steve Mazzagatti. Let’s let these fights just go. I like that he said that personally.”



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