The UFC is under fire after Daniel Cormier was kept in the octagon for a post-fight interview shortly after being knocked out

On Saturday Jon Jones knocked out Daniel Cormier in the third round to claim the UFC light-heavyweight championship.

While the fight delivered for fans looking for action in the octagon, the immediate aftermath of the bout left much to be desired, specifically with regard to the health concerns of the athletes.

The first controversy came when some questioned whether the fight should have been called sooner. Cormier had been holding his own and probably had won one of the first two rounds on some scorecards, but once Jones caught him with the kick it was immediately apparent to anyone watching that Cormier was dazed and vulnerable.

Jones chased Cormier down and began raining punches down on him until the referee stopped the fight.

After the fight, referee 
John McCarthy tweeted that upon watching replays, he wished he had stopped the fight two punches earlier. But Cormier himself would later say of McCarthy in an Instagram post that he was “thankful for the time you gave me to try and defend myself and stay in the fight. You are the best in the business for a reason.”

But more than when the fight should have been stopped, the biggest problem of the night was how Cormier was treated after the loss. After taking that straight shot to the face that initially slowed him, Cormier received several more blows to the head before the ref stepped in. Once back in his corner, he is spoken to for a moment by trainers and suits.

As Deadspin noted, as one of the cameras stayed on Cormier, it appeared to show that he was blocked at least twice from exiting the octagon where he could’ve received necessary medical attention.

It would appear that the reason Cormier was refused exit was so that he could be present while Jones was announced as the new champion, and later be interviewed by Joe Rogan. In the interview, Cormier is clearly struggling to get words out. There were tears streaming down his face, reminiscent of when Luke Kuechly was carted off the football field in tears last season after taking a devastating hit.

Rogan had previously said that he would no longer be interviewing fighters after they had been knocked out in a fight, after a similar situation occurred last September while speaking to Alistair Overeem. Rogan would go on to post a series of tweets apologizing for the interview on Sunday.

While Rogan will likely be more conscious to avoid making this same mistake again, the pressing question at hand is why Cormier wasn’t able to leave the Octagon when he initially moved for the door? The man had been knocked out, and as he attempted to get himself out of the arena and to the necessary care, he was stopped, apparently for the sake of a few more photos and an interview where he was not wholly himself.

For a sport that asks its fighters to put their lives on the line every time they enter the arena, it seems there’s still a lot of work to be done so that athletes are treated with proper precaution in the immediate aftermath of a fight.

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