UFC 185 was a great night of fights that left the mixed martial arts community with plenty to talk about. Unfortunately, it wasn’t entirely a positive night.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, Ryan Benoit returned after a long lay off and defeated the odds by knocking out Sergio Pettis. The fight was in his home town, and he was getting dominated until the final moments when he toppled his foe.

It should have been one of the best nights of his life, but he lost control of himself and struck Pettis after the referee had stopped the fight. Pettis was on his hands and knees, concussed, and being attended to by the referee following the stoppage and Benoit kicked him. Benoit kicked Pettis while he was down, and in the butt, no less.

In the post-fight interview he admitted quickly that he was in the wrong and apologized. It seemed heartfelt, but it’s difficult to tell if it was because he ruined his moment, or for the action itself. The apology was enough for Dana White to give Benoit a clean slate, and by the end of the night it was clear that his employer wouldn’t be handing him down any punishment.

That’s all good and fine, but he must have broken rules by striking his opponent following the stoppage. What would his penalty be from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation?

Following an inquiry on the matter, Susan Stanford, a Public Information Officer from the TDLR responded, “Greg Alvarez, TDLR’s Combative Sports Manager spoke sternly with Mr. Benoit, stressing this type of behavior is not acceptable nor that of a professional fighter.” Stanford went on to explain, “No further action will be taken against Benoit as the situation was addressed ringside.”

Yes, Benoit’s immediate and seemingly sincere apology was the best possible thing he could have done following the incident, but it doesn’t erase the fact that he kicked a fighter after the fight had been stopped. What’s more troubling though was that Benoit couldn’t control himself. It’s a liability, and the UFC has punished fighters severely in the past for either holding on to submissions too long, or striking their opponent after the bell.

His apology should be taken into consideration when looking at a punishment, but not providing any fine or suspension seems to be a bit ridiculous. Moving forward, when applying for a license Benoit will never have to mention the incident, and I’m sure it is information that other commissions would like to take into account when considering him for a license.

The sport has a very fragile public image, and Benoit’s actions, and the lack of punishment from the TDLR doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

 

 

About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.