MMA and UFC News

UFC Ref Yves Lavigne On Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell: “I Screwed Up” At UFC 96


The UFC referee, Yves Lavigne, admits to a huge mistake he made during the Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell fight at UFC 96. During the first 20 seconds of the fight, Brown connected several strikes to Sell’s head which eventually knocked him down to the mat. Lavigne came in between and stopped the fight, temporarily that is. He immediately changed his mind and signaled to let the fight go on. Lavigne admits that it was a huge mistake on his part and that Sell acquired a “beating for absolutely nothing.”

We all make mistakes including referees, but hopefully all of the refs learn from this mistake so that it will never happen again during MMA competitions. Here’s a snip from Levigne as he talks to media in a post-fight conference:

“I did let Mr. Sell take maybe — not maybe– I let him take a beating for absolutely nothing. So I didn’t do my job properly. So basically, I screwed up. I screwed up and I’m going to learn from it and try not to do it again…I’m going to make sure not to do it again…I screwed up. There’s not much to say. I screwed up the fight. I made a rookie mistake at the beginning and stopped it way too soon. I kind of restarted the fight. It wasn’t over at that point and I made the decision to look like a fool and say ok, keep going. I may have deprived Mr. Brown of an early victory but we’ll never know because of me. I feel really bad. Fighters deserve the best. Instead of talking about Mr. Browns great win people are talking about a ref. Mr. Brown won with athleticism and tools he has and I’m taking the spotlight away because of my mistake. I feel really bad about it. He deserves better. He worked hard for that win.”



  1. Matt

    March 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I am very happy to hear Dana White’s reaction. Watching the Brown/Sell fight enraged me. The worst thing for the sport is severe injuries sustained due to bad refs. As a fan, I feel that, in general, the refs in the UGC stop fights too late. Very frequently I see the loser absorb 3-6 undefended strikes to the head- a head containing an unconscious, already damaged brain. Every time this happens it makes me cringe, enjoy the sport less and worry for the fighters. The reason Anderson Silva is my favorite fighter (aside from his unearthly talent) is that he doesn’t throw extra punches at the end of a victory. When he knows his opponent is out, he stops himself before the ref jumps in. In my opinion, this is the ultimate in class, sportsmanship, and self-control- all virtues that are crucial if MMA is to be a respectable sport instead of televised brutality.

  2. cunningstunt

    March 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    yeah his life as a ref is over, i don’t think i’ve ever seen a ref choke that bad.

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