We as MMA fans love to point out the mistakes that referees and judges make on a regular basis. Quite honestly, there have been some major screw ups in the 2/3rd or so of this MMA year that has been completed. However, I just wanted to take the time to give Mario Yamasaki his props for the great job that he did during the Randy Couture/Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira fight. Yamasaki is often known for letting fighters take too much punishment before stopping the fight, hence the nickname Mario "Finish Him" Yamasaki. However, it was almost like he was invisible during the Couture/Nogueira epic clash.
I think it's great when a referee understands that certain fights need to take on a life of their own, especially fights that MMA fans have craved to see for quite some time. It's great that he knew that the fans wanted to see if Nogueira could submit Couture, so he let the fight stay on the ground once it went there. Granted, the action never really slowed to a lay and pray pace either.
Yamasaki arguably could have stopped the Couture/Nogueira fight in the third round after Couture got dropped. We have a highlight posted here. Check the way Couture's knee buckled and how he fell, not to mention that he took about 20 unanswered hammer-fists after getting dropped. However, he was alert and attempting to defend the hammer-firsts. We've seen fighters get dropped and fall like Couture did only to see the referee run over and stop the fight. Yamasaki not stopping the fight at that point allowed us to see just how much of a true champion Randy Couture really is. So I salute Mario Yamasaki for allowing that fight to run its course, and for allowing us as MMA fans to experience a fight for the ages.