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Miesha Tate: Cat Zingano hit me with illegal knee

Miesha Tate Cat Zingano illegal knee

Miesha Tate lost to Cat Zingano by third-round TKO at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 17 on Saturday and complained afterwards that the fight was stopped too early and that she was struck by an illegal knee.

Tate was in control most of the first two rounds of the fight. She repeatedly sought submissions in the second round — either by heel hook or armbar — but was unable to land either one. In the third round, Zingano came out and immediately got a takedown, and then dominated from top position. She nailed Tate with blow after blow to the face and body.

Halfway through the round, after receiving several blows to her face and nose, Tate fought to stand up. Just as she was standing up, Zingano nailed her with a knee that dropped her back to the ground. Tate fought to get back up again, but Zingano crushed her with three straight knees and an elbow to the head that forced the referee to stop the fight.

Tate may have felt the stoppage was too early, but I don’t. She was hardly able to defend herself and she was getting pummeled. I thought it was a good stoppage.

As for the potentially illegal knee, that’s a more legitimate point.

Under the “Fouls” section of the UFC’s rules, it states that you are not allowed to knee the head of a grounded opponent.

One could argue that Tate’s finger tips were touching the canvas at the time she was kneed, which would make the knee illegal. If it was illegal, it was by the slightest margin. I thought the rulings were fine.

To me, the biggest issue for Tate is her strength. She wasn’t strong enough to submit Zingano, and she struggled to get out from under Zingano in the third round.

Tate and Zingano earned Fight of the Night bonuses while Zingano will be a coach opposite Ronda Rousey on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. Zingano will face Rousey in a UFC title match.


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  • TheBull

    Larry, an illegal blow is illegal, regardless of the margins. That is the very reason that the UFC should employ the best officials. Kim Winslow is not that referee. Also, the fight shouldn’t end until a fighter is unable to defend themselves. You noted that Tate was hardly defending, but nevertheless defending. Although the stoppage may not have made a difference, the call on an illegal knee certainly may have, as it would have separated the fighters and allowed them to catch their breath. I don’t think Zingano would have been penalized a point, but the fight would have likely went to the cards instead of ending by way of questionable stoppage.

  • Guest

    The UFC doesn’t hire officials, the commission of the state they’re in hires the officials. Herb Dean, John McCarthy, Josh Rosenthal, etc., don’t work for the UFC. They can be invited over if the UFC wants to bring along a set of officials to a country/state that don’t have an athletic commission, like Brazil. If the UFC can dictate who can ref which fights, don’t you think refs like Herb Dean and John McCarthy would be refereeing every single fight, especially one that was important as Zingano/Tate.

  • def

    I’d love to see what the next frame looks like cos that one looks a fraction before contact. and if it takes a freeze frame to determine if its an illegal blow or not how is a ref meant to do it at full speed with no replay???

  • kongqueror

    Totally agree! That picture does not show an illegal knee as the knee has not hit Tate’s head. Shoe me a frame where Zingano’s knee has contact with Tate’s head while her fingers are on the ground first before we can say it was illegal.

  • TheBull

    True. That doesn’t change the fact that Tate suffered an illegal knee and a questionable stoppage. Kim Winslow is a notoriously bad referee. I don’t believe a men’s fight would’ve been stopped while the fighter was still defending, and if the fight was stopped Dana would have given her crap about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deuley Nolan Deuley

    Yea I gotta say it was illegal. Think about the frames before this one not after it. Tates hands were firmly on the ground then and that when cat decided in her mind ” ima knee this chick in the face”. It takes a fraction of a second to decide things like that and if you watch it you can tell from the moment cat picked up her foot she was set on putting her knee in tates face and only until maybe the last frame or two was her hands on the mat. It was totally 100 percent illegal. The ref just missed it cause she’s a scrub

  • def

    In REAL TIME tate is lifting her hand and thats when she starts to throw the knee. Its about timing so if you want to go frame by frame then the next frame is the one that tells the story. If tates hand is off the ground at the moment of contact its not illegal. However, when you’re talking about frames, in the US thats 1/30th of a second!!! Do you all realise that a ref does not have instant replay in their head???