Marc Goddard did not have the luxury of instant replay in slow motion during the weekend. He did not have the benefit of going back when his decision had already been made.
In hindsight, however, after seeing his break in the UFC 234 fight between Jimmy Crute and Sam Alvey again, the referee admits he could do things differently if he had another chance .
Crute shook Alvey badly and dropped him in the first round with his right hand at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Crute went away as if the fight were over, but Goddard had not called. Alvey was able to recover a bit, but shortly thereafter he ended up in a terrible position – tortured with Crute who started to rain hard.
Some of those shots did not arrive and land, but some did. Some hit Alvey's arms. Goddard entered, however, after 16 punches launched in that sequence and interrupted the fight, believing that Alvey had finished. Alvey appeared immediately and furiously supported the interruption. Alvey, who is known for his sunny attitude, was so angry that he came out of the Octagon immediately after reading the result from the announcer Bruce Buffer.
"Yes, I know that Sam obviously jumped right up, obviously demonstrating to me and saying it's OK," Goddard said. "But at that point the fight is called, and you know what it is, going back and looking at it again, if I could get it back again, yes, I would have taken a half step backwards." I should have fired two more shots or three shots. I'll put it down by mistake, I'm big and ugly enough to do it. "
In the void, Goddard said he would not stop the fight based on the land and pound sequence alone. And it was Alvey's bad behavior first and the face-down position he was at the end that pulled him by the trigger. Alvey was giving a sign of approval, but Goddard said he did not see it, because he was concentrating on where his fists were going.
"It was not one, two or three shots where I stopped and I stopped," said Goddard. "It was 16. Sixteen shots, and at that point, I'm considering, I think he's hurt and not recovered from the original knockdown I think he's hurt, I see his head on the carpet, I see the shots come in and I make my call.
"At the same time, while I do, people say," Did not you see Sam's thumb? "No, I did not. Honestly and honestly, I did not see his thumb turned up because his arm is stretched out and my goal, my vision is on where these shots are trying to land. "
UFC president Dana White criticized Goddard's interruption in the post-combat UFC 234 press conference, saying that the referee did a "really bad job". White also claimed that Goddard acted on the initial knockdown, leading Crute to think that the fight was over.
As for the comments, Goddard said he believes White has "seen a thousand fights" and is entitled to his opinion. In Alvey's knockdown, Goddard said he did what he always does – try to reach the relevant position as quickly as possible.
"When Sam is dropped, I run inside and my lens, my peripheral vision is then dug into the tunnel," Goddard said. "My eye is refined on one person and that person is Sam Alvey.What I look for while running is that if Sam can give me a glimpse, show me something that tells me it's still there, something that will let me keep the fight going He does it, gets up, is clearly shaky.
"Of course I'm running to stop him, because that's my job, I do not want Sam to take an unnecessary sequel if it's not necessary, my mind is going 100 miles at the hour while I'm running. real and then I'll go back, because I know I'll give Sam that opportunity, he has the chance to stay in combat. "
A few moments after he's back up, Alvey goes in search of a takedown and Crute easily hits him and reverses his position. Goddard saw it as another sign that Alvey was still out.
"It turns out as if nothing had happened, like a child," Goddard said. "And I know that in normal times, Sam would not do that, of course, he's still disoriented, etc. And he's still trying to figure out what's going on, I recognize him, I'm letting the fight go."
With all that in mind, Goddard watched Crute throw more than a dozen hits with Alvey who did little to defend effectively. While he would like to take a half step back and continued his assessment, Goddard said that the last thing he wanted to do was that Alvey suffered serious damage.
"Let's say I let it go and then the last two shots that came out put it completely face down, unconscious," Goddard said. "What do you think they will say about me?"
To make matters worse, Goddard was the referee for Alvey's previous fight against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira last September in Brazil. Nogueira won for TKO and Alvey was also unhappy with the timing of that Goddard break.
Prior to UFC 234, however, Goddard claimed that Alvey was a professional and friendly backstage in the traditional meeting of rules. Goddard said he had no bad will against "Smile & # 39; n Sam". In reality, he wants all this to have been done differently.
"I approach my work and all the fights are the same," said Goddard. "And I'm sorry for Sam, I really am, I feel bad, but all I want people to try and do is to understand where my mental aspect comes in. If I stopped fighting on the ground and sterilized myself, people it would justly jump on me, but I'm not, it was the fact of what happened before. "
Goddard has been a referee for 15 years and in 11 of those he has been appointed to work for UFC. He has experience and is considered one of the best referees in MMA. Goddard said he wants to make it clear that it is not about situations that he takes lightly.
"I'm just doing what I do," Goddard said. "This sport is rooted in me, not just the mind, I'm working from the heart, it means a lot to me, I want these guys to have their trust and confidence in me I do not know, sometimes it's like the old adage damned if you do it, damn it if you do not. "