You know things get ridiculous when the usually mild-mannered Jon Anik starts talking crazy crazy over a hot mic.
Anik, best known for inserting dozens of sponsorship announcements into each fight broadcast, also adds a healthy dose of flavor to the fight commentary team. At UFC Vegas 61, it got downright spicy after a blatant non-call by the referee in co-main event Randy Brown vs. Francisco Trinaldo.
The key first-round moment saw Trinaldo chase Brown and press him against the fence before throwing a takedown. Brown responded by openly grabbing the fence, avoiding falling to the ground. The referee slapped Brown’s hand but didn’t even bother to issue a warning.
“Worth it if you’re Brown,” said commentator Dominick Cruz. “It’s really worth it. No points taken, nothing happened. Something must be happening there.
“Yes, that’s where it’s difficult,” added Paul Felder, also in the boot. “Are you granting him the withdrawal? But in what position?
“Or do you stick your testicles out and take a point?” Anik suggested.
Honestly, this might be our favorite Anik moment, and there have been many. But this one is the best, because it captures the frustration all fans are feeling as grabbing the fence, poking eyes, and backhanding have become accepted parts of the fighting game. At this point, they’re “illegal moves” that you can get away with multiple times, with punishment given out on an unofficial three-hit system if you’re lucky.
Of course, being the consummate professional that he is, Anik responded to comments after the event with a facepalm emoji.
“I have all the respect in the world for referees,” he wrote on Twitter. “I even gave my man a nickname, Keith Peterson. But you asked the right question. What’s a referee to do with a foul like this? It changed the fight, in my opinion. humble opinion. Hence the (passionate) reaction…”
Haha. ♂️ I have all the respect in the world for referees. I even gave my man a nickname, Keith Peterson. But you asked the right question. What should a referee do with a foul like this? It changed the fight, IMHO. Hence the (passionate) reaction…
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) October 2, 2022
Fans may disagree on the exact proper response, but we’d say award him the takedown in the half or side check (the half seems fair since the closing hold was so egregious) and give him a verbal warning. Next step: point deductions.
As Dominick Cruz said, the grab worked for Brown. He ended up winning that first round on all three judges’ scorecards, edging out Trinaldo 29-28. If Trinaldo had those full two minutes in mind to end the first round, it could have changed the outcome of the round and the fight.
We clearly need some people with testicles to start taking these moments seriously.
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