WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- MMA fighters Melquizael Costa and Rafael Barbosa fought for the lightweight belt title Saturday night in Bauru, Brazil.
- The Demolidor Fight almost ended tragically when Costa was choked unconscious for 90 seconds.
- The referee, Emerson Pereira Saez, was highly criticized for not stopping the fight as soon as Costa went out.
The clash between lightweights Melquizael Costa and Rafael Barbosa was the main event of Brazil’s Demolidor Fight on Saturday night – but it nearly had a fatal end as Costa experienced a near-death situation from Barbosa’s grip.
An online footage of the fight’s third and final round shows Costa, helplessly locked in Barbosa’s anaconda choke and losing consciousness a few moments later. The referee was standing right next to them for 90 seconds without checking Costa’s condition.
Costa recounts the horrifying experience toMMA fighting: “He locked the anaconda choke, and when I turned to the wrong side, I went out. The first thing I remember is opening my eyes and seeing my coaches and a doctor over me, calling my name, and I couldn’t breathe. It was agonizing.”
Costa explained that when he already passed out, his eyes remained open.
“You might think I’m awake, but I was already out,” he continued.
Costa said he was already having seizures. Barbosa’s corner and his corner yelled at the referee, telling him he was out. Ironically, the referee said he would only stop the fight if someone’s out.
“And I was! Every referee touches the fighter to see if they are out, but he never touched me. My opponent stopped the fight. Otherwise, I would be dead,” Costa recalled.
Barbosa said that it was misleading that Costa had his eyes open the entire time, but still, he admits that the referee had his own shortcomings.
“My initial reaction was to let the referee know as soon as I felt that he went out,” Barbosa said. “I saw that he didn’t stop the fight because his eyes were open.”
He also stated that apart from the referee, Costa’s team didn’t proactively stop the fight either — “He was out, and his team kept telling him to get up, to defend. They thought he was still awake. I don’t think the referee is completely wrong here.”
The referee said he didn’t notice Costa was having a seizure because his eyes were open.
When asked why he never touched Costa to see if he wasn’t unconscious, Saez said that asking if he was alright was enough.
Costa spent the night in a hospital and was discharged Sunday morning. He is still due for tests to make sure there weren’t any complications from being unconscious for that long.
Source: MMA Fighting