One particular MMA fight at a recent event, EFC 88 in South Africa, is now being investigated because of an incredibly late stoppage after one fighter was put to sleep with a Rear-Naked Choke. The match actually continued for several seconds after the fighter was very clearly unconscious and the referee working the fight lifted his arm several times to check for consciousness, with it falling limp every single time. It really does beg the question as to why he thought the fighter was fine to continue given that the response indicated that he was unconscious.
The fight in question was between two debuting fighters in the Flyweight division, Julio Plaatjies and Teboho Ntene. It was relatively early in the first round when the fight went to the ground and Plaatjies started to land some hard shots that forced his opponent to turn and give up his back. From there he sunk in the choke and put his opponent to sleep almost immediately. Unfortunately for Ntene and everyone in attendance at EFC 88, several poor decisions by the referee in quick succession led to a late stoppage that really can’t be justified.
Fighters hold out until the very end reasonably often of course, and it’s not uncommon to see someone get put to sleep in a professional MMA fight. That’s exactly why the referee exists of course, and the onus is on them to save that fighter from unnecessary damage in the exact same fashion that they would call off a fight once someone is knocked out. Some stoppages can be contentious of course, but this was far from it. The video footage from the event was uploaded to Twitter, and can be seen below:
— Streetfight Banned-cho (@streetfitebncho) August 14, 2021