Gianni Vazquez, the fighter who was choked unconscious and then submitted with an armbar Friday in Texas, has suffered arm injuries as a result of the sequence.
The bout headlined Fury FC 76 in San Antonio and was officiated by referee Frank Collazo, who did not stop the contest when opponent Edgar Chairez put Vazquez to sleep with a triangle choke. After an elongated period of squeeze and with Vazquez not tapping, Chairez eventually switched to an armbar and torqued. Eventually, Vazquez regained consciousness and tapped – but apparently not before damage was done.
“This is the fight game and is not a game,” Vazquez wrote Saturday on Instagram. “I say if you want to beat me you better gotta put me out cause if not is going to be a long night. I make a mistake and it cost me the fight that I feel I was winning. My opponent took advantage of that and with some stupid referee that didn’t stop the fight when I was out now I have to deal with a potential fracture on my arm and some ligaments damaged too.”
The officiating mishap went viral Friday and garnered a lot of attention and comments from members from the fight community around the world. Even UFC president Dana White discussed the sequence at a UFC on ESPN 43 post-fight news conference.
“That’s the kind of stuff that I really, really don’t like, if a guy gets choked unconscious and you don’t know he’s unconscious,” White said. “Everybody has a bad night. Everybody makes mistakes. But if a guy gets choked unconscious and then they pull him into an armbar, I mean, it doesn’t get any worse than that. (Josh Burkman vs. Jon Fitch) was the one I went after Mazzagatti so bad about. … Mazzagatti had no clue. You shouldn’t be reffing if that happens, in my opinion.”
Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza, a teammate of Vazquez’s from Team Oyama, was in attendance for the bout. Esparza, too, criticized the way the situation was handled.
“1st his opponent missed weight by 2.5 lbs, then this ref puts his health and safety in jeopardy,” Esparza wrote on Facebook. “What we do is already so dangerous, but it’s the ref’s job to keep us safe. They really messed up big time, shame.”
Ridiculous scene at Fury FC. Edgar Cháirez puts Gianni Vazquez to sleep with a triangle, and the ref simply doesn’t stop it. Cháirez ends up armbarring an unconscious Vazquez who wakes up in the submission. #Furyfc76 pic.twitter.com/AgcwI2i3ss
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) March 25, 2023
A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), the commission which oversaw the event, Saturday told MMA Junkie the commissioning body was “aware of concerns” pertaining to the incident. There was no mention of disciplinary action and Collazo was permitted to serve as a judge at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 43 event in San Antonio.
Fury FC also issued a statement, in which it openly criticized TDLR for failing to keep their fighters safe. TDLR offered a differing take where it stated the commissions and promotions decide on officials together.