Ed Herman stepped into the octagon for the 25th time Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 35, and it’s safe to say it was his most controversial fight of the bunch.
Herman (26-14 MMA, 13-10 UFC) left the fight with his hand raised by submission against Mike Rodriguez (11-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) in their light heavyweight bout, but it came, arguably, with an assist from referee Chris Tognoni.
“The Ultimate Fighter 3” veteran was having a hard time with Rodriguez in the first two rounds of the fight. He got crushed with a hard knee in the second stanza that dropped him to the canvas, but when Herman went down, he held his groin.
That signified to Tognoni that he’d been hit with an illegal strike, and he intervened. Replays, however, appeared to show it was a clean shot to the midsection.
The fight resumed, and then in the third Herman pulled off something miraculous. He locked up a kimura from bottom position, flipped Rodriguez over, then sank it in deep to force the tap, concluding a controversial bout.
Watch it below (via Twitter):
After nearly being finished multiple times, @EdHermanufc dug deep and locked up a third-round kimura to complete the comeback 🤯 pic.twitter.com/UdOiiR9wvt
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 13, 2020
After the fight, Herman did not offer much to make those accusing him of pulling one over on the referee feel better. He admitted he was hurt, but said he didn’t know what he’d been hit with (via Twitter):
Ed Herman addresses the RD 2 controversy. #UFCVegas10 pic.twitter.com/IjAefqpGcZ
— UFC (@ufc) September 13, 2020
The outcome of the fight seemed to resonate with many. MMA Junkie’s John Morgan, who was on-site at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, said UFC president Dana White could be seen rapidly pacing outside the octagon after the conclusion of the bout.
Rodriguez’s agent, Tyson Chartier, posted on Twitter soon after the fight was over that an appeal of the loss already is planned.
Let the appeal process begin. Proud of Mike and his performance, he deserved better than that. #UFCVegas10
— Tyson Chartier (@TysonChartier) September 13, 2020