Junior dos Santos Vents on Perceived Illegal Elbow from Ciryl Gane at UFC 256

By: Tristen Critchfield
Dec 21, 2020
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A post shared by Junior Cigano Dos Santos (@juniorcigano)

Junior dos Santos still hasn’t gotten over the finishing sequence that led to his demise at UFC 256.

The former heavyweight champion suffered a second-round technical knockout defeat to Ciryl Gane on Dec. 12 — his fourth consecutive defeat in the Octagon. Dos Santos protested the stoppage in the aftermath, pointing to what he believes what was an elbow to the back of the head landed by Gane during the finish.

“Cigano” took to social media to speak out about the stoppage, and his stance remains the same.

“I know I hadn’t spoken out about my last fight yet because I expect that the [Nevada State] Athletic Commission and the UFC would have watched the replay of the fight and seen for themselves, which is very clear, that the elbow that knocked me out was illegal,” Dos Santos said. “If you watch the fight, there’s no other understanding possible, but this is not what’s happening among these ‘MMA specialists’ out there.

“OK, even if his forearm may have touched my ear like the Athletic Commission say, his elbow was the contact point and it hit me right at the back of my head which is illegal and there’s a reason why blows to the back of the head are prohibited in MMA and there’s no reason that prohibition shouldn’t be enforced.”

UFC president Dana White was asked about the blow following the event, but he didn’t think that Gane landed an illegal strike because his opponent was turning as the Frenchman was attacking.

“You guys tell me what you think, but what I saw was Junior had gotten hurt,” White said. “He got rocked, and he was almost walking away and turning his back to him, and Ciryl was throwing shots at him and then threw an elbow. They were squared up. You turned your back, and then he caught you on the back of the head.”

In his statement, dos Santos added that although he doesn’t believe Gane intended to land an illegal strike, but that doesn’t change the fact that rules should be enforced. It’s unclear if dos Santos intends to appeal the loss with the NSAC.

“I don’t think it was intentional by Gane, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t illegal,” he said. “It completely changed the fight in a way that’s not OK with me and should not be OK with anyone who cares about our sport and our safety. I have never not been humble in defeat, but this is not the case here.

“I feel bad that this situation takes away the shine of this victory, but it’s also not OK. [It’s] not right to expect me to take a loss from an illegal blow. I hope you guys agree with me. I know my situation isn’t good in the organization, but that’s not the reason to suddenly stop enforcing rules or stop ensuring my safety inside the cage.”

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