Mario Yamasaki was the referee in charge for the UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin 2 main event in Belo Horizonte, Brazil last Saturday.
Some have blamed him for Wanderlei Silva’s loss to Rich Franklin. According to local media and many fans, Mario should have interrupted the bout late in the second round when Silva caught Franklin with a flurry of punches.
Mario also faced criticism for his performance at UFC 142, when he disqualified Erick Silvafor illegal hits on the back of Carlo Prater’s head. Dana White disagreed with the referee and paid Erick the bonus for the win, despite the result was not changed.
After that bout, Mario has been targeted by Brazilian fans who insist that he is going too far in his attempts to show impartiality when refereeing fights involving fighters from Brazil.
Fighters Only caught up with Mario’s brother Fernando Yamasaki - who also works as a referee at UFC events - and asked him for his thoughts on the various dramas that have encompassed his brother of late.
Fernando not only agreed with the decision made by Mario, he revealed that fighters get plenty of warning from the referee when a stoppage is imminent.
Fighters Only: Do you think Mario should have stopped the fight in the end of the second round?
Fernando Yamasaki: No, he shouldn't have. It is not only in my opinion, but in the opinion of specialists on this subject. Many people commented on Twitter that Mario was perfect to not have interrupted the fight. We referees always warn the fighters in situations like that, saying: ‘Improve your position, you are in trouble and I am going to stop the fight!’
Who's outside the Octagon can't listen, it is needed to be closer the fence to listen these warnings, so we can see the conditions of fighter A or B. Observe that, in that moment, Franklin neither shut himself nor stay still, and when he gets up, he does not show any sign that is unbalanced or dizzy due the attacks.
Fighters Only: In your opinion, an American referee would have stopped the bout to preserve Franklin physically?
Fernando Yamasaki: First off, referees don't have nationality. They got to have character, personality and a good interpretation of the rules.
Fighters Only: What's your take on the people who say your brother wants to show up when he acts like referee in fights of Brazilian fighters?
Fernando Yamasaki: The supporters opinions are always made in the heat of the moment and some times they are tendentious. Due the face that a Brazilian is performing, they don't analyze it technically.
It is like in soccer, every supporter is a player, coach and referee and they assume to have more knowledge than the crew specialized to accomplish the respective functions!