The bizarre 2024 PFL Europe 1 main event controversy, explained: What was THAT?

The conclusion to the 2024 PFL Europe 1 headliner between Cedric Doumbe and Baysangur Chamsoudinov will go down as one of the most bizarre in the history of a major promotion’s event, but what exactly happened

In the end, the sellout crowd inside Paris’ Accor Arena and fight fans across social media were thoroughly disappointed all because of … a tiny piece of glass? That appears to be the case.

Something afoot

A little more than minute into the third and final round of what was a close fight, Doumbe signaled to referee Marc Goddard as if to suggest his left foot was injured. Goddard could be heard on the broadcast immediately telling Doumbe, “Don’t stop, you can’t stop, you’ve got to keep going.”

So they did.

But for the next 10 seconds or so, Doumbe and Chamsoudinov only stood in front of each other hesitant to attack. This prompted Chamsoudinov to first make a gesture at Goddard and then Doumbe again followed by pointing at his foot. 

At this moment, Goddard waved off the fight and addressed Doumbe as he did so, much to the chagrin of the French fan favorite. Chamsoudinov was awarded a third-round TKO win by injury stoppage. 

Breakdown from ‘Big’ John

On the broadcast, former referee and PFL analyst “Big” John McCarthy broke down what transpired.

“What’s going on is you had Cedric Doumbe saying that he has something wrong with his foot,” McCarthy said. “You can’t call timeout. Now, if something was done by an incident in the cage that was a foul, Marc Goddard would call a time to it and take care of the problem. But when Cedric Doumbe says, ‘Oh, my foot,’ and then (Goddard) tells him, ‘No, fight on,’ and then he again goes back to his problem with his foot, that’s a self-inflicted injury or an injury that was caused by something fair in the fight. You’re trying to call a timeout to gain something in that (situation). Marc Goddard is completely right in this. It is a TKO victory for Baki.”

Doumbe’s side

As it turns out, Doumbe wasn’t exactly injured, but he was dealing with something that out of his control.

“I didn’t want to stop the fight, not at all. I wanted to fight, of course, as everybody saw. But I have a small – because I still have, I don’t want to remove. I don’t want people to say I’m a liar. I have a small (piece) of glass in my foot,” Doumble told PFL color commentator Sean O’Connell during his post-fight interview. “I don’t know (if it was) inside the cage, so it’s hurting me. I just wanted to remove it and keep going. The referee told me, ‘You can’t stop.’ I said, ‘OK.’ I wanted to fight. And then my opponent is looking at me. He’s saying that something is annoying me. He said, ‘Just remove it.’ And then we stopped both together, looking at the referee, and then he stopped the fight. It’s not (Chamsoudinov’s) fault. Of course, that’s not his fault. That’s just the referee’s fault. But, you know, it is what it is. I don’t even know what to say.”

Fair or foul?

What can Doumbe say? The outcome, quite honestly, was completely dumb – but it appears to have been the right call based on the rules in that Goddard doesn’t have the leeway to stop the fight assess if Doumbe’s injury is legitimate.

Should language be included to allow for unforeseen circumstances such as debris in the cage? Tough call.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie