Sherdog.com obtained a copy of the appeal from Chiesa’s manager,
Daniel Rubenstein, on Thursday. Chiesa is protesting the decision
of Mario Yamasaki to wave off the lightweight headliner after Lee
secured a rear-naked choke 4:37 into the first round. At the time,
Chiesa neither tapped out nor appeared to be rendered unconscious
when Yamasaki made his decision.
Chiesa is seeking to have the bout overturned to a no contest due
to “referee error.” Oklahoma State Athletic Commission Executive
Director Joe Miller confirmed to Sherdog.com that he has received
“During the second-half of the first round, my opponent applied
what is commonly referred to as a ‘body triangle.’ While in this
position, my opponent made multiple attempts to secure a ‘rear
naked choke.’ Initially, my opponent utilized a traditional rear
naked choke grip. I fought this grip with what is commonly referred
to as ‘hand fighting,’ pulling down the top of his hand in an
effort to break the grip. My opponent then engaged an entirely
different grip - ‘palm to palm.’ Because of the location of the
grip, the defense to this form of rear naked choke is entirely
different,” Chiesa wrote. “As a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
for more than a decade, I engaged my years of experience by (1)
relaxing, (2) engaging my core and shoulders to "shrug" to release
some pressure and (3) flex my neck muscles. It may not look pretty,
but the positioning provides three important benefits (1) allowing
increased blood flow and breathing ability, (2) creating space to
‘turn in’ to the opponent, and (3) forcing the opponent to exhaust
strength to pursue a finish that may never come.
“I was in this specific position for less than two seconds before
Mr. Yamasaki wrongfully ended the contest,” Chiesa continued. “Mr.
Yamasaki offered no warnings that he may stop the bout and did not
make any effort to check my condition or offer any verbal commands
of any kind. As you will see on replays, I was not only awake, but
animated. Again, I did not tap, I did not verbally submit, I was
not knocked unconscious and at no point did I go unconscious.”
Chiesa also claims that in addition to incorrectly halting the
fight, Yamasaki allowed Lee to land illegal downward elbows from
back mount at the 3:46 mark of the first round.
“These illegal strikes cut my head open, and I required four
stitches after the fight was over,” Chiesa wrote.
Chiesa also specifically references questionable calls Yamasaki
made in previous bouts as an official.
“While I understand that mixed martial arts referees have a very
difficult job, licensed combatants like me enter into combative
contests with the understanding that referees will follow highest
standard of conduct,” Chiesa wrote. “Mario Yamasaki, the referee in
this contest, has a long history of failing to meet the standards
officials are held to. For example, at UFC 142, Mr. Yamasaki
improperly disqualified Erick Silva
in a contest against Carlo
Prater. Recently, at UFC Fight Night 105, Mr. Yamasaki publicly
said he had ‘no excuses’ for his late stoppage in the main event
bout between Travis
Browne and Derrick
As precedent, Chiesa points out a couple of recent bouts where
decisions that were a result of referee error were overturned.
“Just this year, the
Missouri Athletic Commission overturned a contest at Invicta
Fighting Championships 20 where the referee improperly gave a
fighter a warning for what he thought was a foul, which in
actuality was not a foul, causing her to not be able to defend an
armbar successfully,” he wrote. “At UFC Fight Night 62, the
Brazilian MMA Commission (CABMMA)
overturned the decision the referee made in Leanardo Silva vs
Dober, where the referee stopped the bout because he thought
Drew Dober was unconscious though Drew was fully coherent.
Similarly, this commission is fully within it’s rights to overturn
the improper ruling in this contest based on referee error.”