UFC: Daniel Cormier retains UFC 205 crown, Rumble Johnson and Patrick Cote retire plus ref blunder

Gareth A Davies
The Telegraph
UFC 210: Daniel Cormier retains UFC 205 crown, Rumble Johnson and Patrick Cote retire plus ref blunder
UFC 210: Daniel Cormier retains UFC 205 crown, Rumble Johnson and Patrick Cote retire plus ref blunder

Daniel Cormier did the double over Anthony Johnson with a second defeat of his foe in Buffalo, New York, to retain the UFC light heavyweight title, but the night was marred by a refereeing blunder in the middleweight fight between Gegard Mousasi and Chris Weidman, which saw the bout end prematurely.

MMA rules melted before fans eyes as the New York State Athletic Commission refused to allow replay evidence to let the fight continue.

The bizarre night in New York State ended with an emotional 'Rumble' Johnson, defeated at the hands of Cormier by rear naked choke, announced his shock retirement from mixed martial arts, while Canadian Patrick Cote, roundly beaten by fellow veteran Thiago Alves, also declared he was done after giving his all and going out on his shield. Cote and Johnson have been popular warriors in the Octagon.

Taking the role of the heel in the throes of victory, Cormier indulged in some smack talk after retaining his belt, aiming barbs at British 205-pounder Jimi Manuwa, who was Octagonside, and exiled Jon Jones, the former champion, also at the venue for the event. Jones is suspended for taking banned substances until a hearing scheduled for July.

Cormier, booed by spectators, told Manuwa he was "a boy". The former Olympic wrestler told FOX Sports: “They can all get this lyrical masterpiece. I’m not going to beg for cheers. At the end of the day I get the job done. If they don’t like me, they don’t like me.”

On whether he would fight Jones or Manuwa next, Cormier added: “I say over and over, if you’re in class and you get suspended, you can’t talk about a fight. (in reference to Jones) Jimi doesn’t want to fight me. If he wants to fight me, it’s a one-round fight.”

Manuwa yelled from the VIP seats that it would take "just one punch" to decide any fight they may have.

Holding back the tears, Johnson said of his shock decision to retire: “It’s been in my mind for a while. I gave another venture my word. They’re waiting on me. I’m grateful for the journey. If I don’t like it, I can still come back. I just have to leave right now. In due time, people will know what it is.”

“I was trying to put him in an uncomfortable position, but I made a mistake and he capitalized on it,” he added, in reference to his defeat.

UFC president Dana White weighed in on who will fight Cormier next: “Jimi Manuwa isn’t on suspension, but Jon Jones is. We’ll see.”

In the top line middleweight bout, Mousasi was getting the better of Weidman when, in the second round, he landed two knees to the head of the American, whose hands appeared to be on the ground. If they had been, the second knee attack would have been an illegal strike. But Weidman's hands were not on the ground at the moment of impact, and referee Dan Miragliotta had incorrectly stopped the action. The New York State Athletic Commission intervened, and the bout was called off. It was a huge disappointment given the nature of the fight, which see-sawed between Weidman's takedowns and Mousasi's excellent, pinpoint striking.

White added on the Weidman – Mousasi controversy: “Mousasi is a free agent. The New York State Athletic Commission is really new, but the referee made the mistake. It looked like that was the way the fight was going. I say it all the time, you’re facing the judges, the ref and your opponent and you have to keep fighting to win.” Mousasi offered Weidman an immediate rematch.

What to read next