Last Saturday at UFC Fight Night 105 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, "The Black Beast" Derrick Lewis gained a statement win over long-time contender Travis "Hapa" Browne. The two heavyweights were not the only ones in the octagon, however. Veteran referee Mario Yamasaki was inside the cage as well, and his actions during the main event (or lack thereof) have garnered almost as much attention as the fight itself.

Mario Yamasaki's controversial stoppage

As fans of all sports are aware, referees are charged with making difficult, split-second decisions and cannot possibly be expected to make the right call every time.

These decisions are even more crucial in MMA, where a mistake could lead to a fighter's death. In this specific case, Derrick Lewis dropped Travis Browne to the mat with a devastating right hand and followed up with some serious ground-and-pound. At that point, Browne was obviously finished and Yamasaki should have stepped in to save the incapacitated fighter. Instead, Lewis was able to land multiple unnecessary shots to his opponent's face, each bouncing his head off of the canvass. Immediately, MMA fans around the world began to cry foul.

Mario Yamasaki opens up

The Brazilian-born referee has not watched the fight yet, but he did make a few statements regarding his initial reaction to the backlash.

"Right in the moment, I already knew that I allowed two extra punches, but the reaction time from a heavyweight is different than a lighter fighter," Yamasaki told MMA Fighting. "So when (Lewis) landed the punch where (Browne) went out, he was able to land two more before I came in to stop the fight." This is where most people would start making excuses about how hard their job is or about how they do not function well if they miss their afternoon cup of coffee.

Yamasaki, on the other hand, chose not to defend his actions."There’s no excuse. I know I should have stopped it earlier..."

Yes, Mario Yamasaki made a mistake. But we all make mistakes. It is woven into the very tapestry of humanity. What is interesting is the way he handled the situation. He chose to do the right thing and own up to his shortcomings.

It does not earn him a free pass, but it does make putting this behind us much easier.

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