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Did Kim Winslow take too long to stop the Cyborg vs. Cuddles Finney Fight?

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Did Kim Winslow take too long to stop the Cyborg vs. Cuddles Finney Fight?

I know that a lot of people think the fight between Cyborg and Cuddles should have been stopped sooner, and many of them are saying it's not because it was a girl fight. Very noble, however, I think that's exactly what the problem is, and why people are in an uproar. In my opinion, the ref did fine actually!

I was cringing at times during this fight myself, but then I cringe when a man gets pummeled. If you look at some of the male fights out there, there are plenty of times when one fighter pummels the other, but the fight's not stopped until the conditions call for it.

The MMA Unified Rules of Conduct make it pretty clear that the fight goes on: if they defend themselves, which Jan did; if they don't tap, which Jan didn't; and if they're coherent, which Jan was. Pretty much the fight goes on until one of those things happens, or the ref calls it...which Kim Winslow finally did.

Was I freaking out, yelling at Finney to do something and to fight back from the minute the bell sounded to the end? You betcha'. But if you're hired to fight as a professional, then you should expect to be treated like one, not like an ammy at her first fight in the ring.

Understand this: the ref's not going to call the fight just because one of the combatants is getting whipped UNTIL one of those things occurs, ESPECIALLY since this was a Championship, nationally-televised bout, that Finney signed up for! Look folks, Finney wanted this fight. She knew win, lose or draw, she was up against a beast in Cyborg. She talked the big talk, because that's what fighters do.

Once in the ring, however, it was a different story, and try as she could, there was no avoiding the flurry of punches and forward onslaught that we call Cris Cyborg. She turtled up, yes, but she continued to defend; she was going for take downs, albeit she was weak; she continued to attempt to stand back up; she covered up her face from the blows; and she continued to fight back.

My hat's off to Jan Finney - she's one tough chick. SHE MADE IT TO THE SECOND ROUND! And when she came out of her corner, she landed a right on Cyborg's chin that might very well have knocked out a less experienced fighter! And once Winslow saw Finney was in trouble, she prompted her to fight back...and when she didn't, the ref stepped in to stop the fight.

Just my take. If you remove the female component and put a man's face in there, there wouldn't be such an outcry, I think, about the ref's performance. For example, she was right to take the point away, as Cris got stuck in the moment and started hammering away at the back of Jan's head, even after the ref warned her. The ref's option? Take away a point - which she did.

Another issue for me is that I think people are all up in arms because a lot of male fans do their best to keep women out of MMA, whether refin'g, judging, doctoring or fighting in the sport, and this controversial fight gave those people the fuel they've been waiting for to now point their fingers and say "see - a women shouldn't be in the ring!"

Now - I'm sure I'll get a lot of naysayers who will battle me to the death and deny this, but it's true. As a state certified female pro-MMA referee, a black belt, and a practitioner of many of the martial arts systems that make up MMA, I am more than qualified to ref MMA fights. I'm not a 100lb. weakling; I train with "the guys"; and if I have to jump in to separate some adrenalin-rushed fighters, I can do it. (I mean - please don't put me in there with the likes of Brock Lesnar -- let's be realistic.) Still, my ability to referee is usually embarrassingly questioned by promotional teams each time I step into the ring to ref. So I actually know from personal experience what I'm talking about here.

As far as standing up the fighters by asking Cris "do you want her to stand up?" - I'm not sure I agree with that; I know as a ref we do that, in fact, in ammy fights, but not pro. The ref makes the decision in a pro fight - they don't leave it up to the fighters, or especially not the dominant fighter! Or as the ref, you just see that one fighter's down, the other backs away, and you stand 'em back up. Simple.

So aside from that, I think Winslow ref'd the fight just fine. And for those not in the know, Winslow didn't just step into the ring yesterday - she has trained for years and knows her stuff. Finney knew what she had signed up for, and after all this was a pro-fight, and a fight for the championship belt.

Was it painful to watch Cuddles Finney get annihilated? Absolutely. But it was just as painful to see Rocky get annihilated by his opponents, and that was just a movie! This was real life, but the feeling's the same.

Pretty much you don't stop a fight just because one of the combatants is getting some wicked shots in, the other one's losing, and her face looks like ground beef. That's the name of the game. You stop the fight when a combatant taps, is KO'd, or is not intelligently defending herself, and then - the fight's over.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 June 2010 19:35

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