John McCarthy explains Chris Weidman eye-poke debacle at UFC on ESPN 54 – and how commission … got it right?

Bruno Silva won’t like what “Big” John McCarthy had to say about the New Jersey commission’s handling of the controversial ending to his UFC on ESPN 54 fight with Chris Weidman.

This past Saturday, Weidman came away victorious after initially stopping Silva by ground-and-pound for a third-round TKO at Boardwalk Hall. The result was instantly called into question after a slow-motion replay showed Weidman egregiously poking Silva in both eyes a moment before the finishing sequence. Upon further review by referee Gary Copeland and the State Athletic Control Board, which regulated UFC on ESPN 54, the fight went to the judges’ scorecards because the fight entered Round 3, resulting still in an announced unanimous decision (but actually technical decision) win for Weidman.

The controversial outcome naturally upset Silva and didn’t sit well with many observers on social media, but McCarthy, a former referee and current PFL analyst, explained Monday on his “Weighing In” podcast that the commission ultimately got it right – even if he did take umbrage with Copeland’s lack of warnings against two previous Weidman eye pokes before the two that led to the finish.

“When Gary Copeland has Chris Weidman, who is putting his fingers out like it’s a pitchfork – you need to address that as the official,” McCarthy told co-host Josh Thomson. “I don’t care that you’re in New Jersey where Chris Weidman is a hero. I’m being honest: I wanted Chris Weidman to win this fight. … But I can’t have Chris Weidman getting preferential treatment as far as you’re the one creating this problem. You need to address the problem and make sure the individual who is creating the problem doesn’t do it anymore. Well, he did do it more.”

McCarthy continued: “I don’t think Gary saw the eye pokes (just before the finish), so that was understandable. He makes the call of stopping the fight. Once he makes the call of stopping the fight and they look at the tape, you can see that he did get poked in the eye. … They need to have the judges score whatever part of the third round they’ve seen. Who won that round? You already have two rounds that have been judged. This need(ed) to go to a technical decision. It’s not a unanimous decision victory. It’s a technical decision victory for Chris Weidman.”

“Chris had won the first two rounds. And if you’re gonna say the third round, I think Chris was winning that one for the most part, too. So I knew Chris was gonna win the fight, but that way it’s not on the fact that a foul occurred and the referee made a decision to stop it without seeing the foul. Now (the commission is) saying, ‘OK, we see the foul. This is what we do.’ Based upon the fact that the fight had entered the third round, you could go to a technical decision. If the same thing had happened in the second round, it would’ve ended up being a no contest. You would not have had a technical decision, because they can only go to that technical decision if the fight enters the third round.”

Even if the commission got it right based upon the rules in the end, Silva is still sure to feel wronged. Silva told MMA Fighting that he plans to appeal the result, but McCarthy explained how that is likely to be a futile process for him.

“What they’re doing is, by going to that technical decision, it’s the right thing to do. I’m just gonna tell you straight out,” McCarthy said. “Because giving Chris Weidman a victory off of TKO, then you’re saying that you’re not addressing the fact that there was a foul. They are addressing that fact. Gary Copeland could’ve decided to have taken points for the fouls. He didn’t do that. That’s his decision. … So the commission actually did the right thing. But, yes, by doing that right thing, they’re taking the ability of Bruno Silva to protest the stopping of the fight as a TKO and making it a no contest later on. They’re taking that away by doin the right thing.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie