MANILA, Philippines – UFC president Dana White believes the heavyweight showdown between defending champion Cain Velasquez and top challenger Junior Dos Santos should have been stopped in the third round.
Velasquez battered Dos Santos for four rounds before referee Herb Dean finally stopped the bout in the fifth round, but White told reporters that the stoppage was late.
“The fight should have been stopped in the third,” said White, as quoted by MMA Fighting.
The third round saw Dos Santos sustain a beating at Velasquez’s hands while against the cage. At one point, he crashed to the canvas, although managed to get back up and survive the round. But even if he was bleeding profusely from cuts in his head, the doctors allowed him to continue.
“I’m a guy who’s been around the sport for a long time, and seen men who are too tough for their own good,” White said. “I think Junior Dos Santos is one of those guys.”
“I think that fight should have been stopped. I just don’t think he needed to take anymore punishment.”
The fight was finally stopped in the fifth round when Dos Santos whiffed on a choke attempt and slammed to the mat, wherein Velasquez was able to sneak in some punches before being pulled away.
White stressed that it should have been stopped as early as the third round.
“If you watch that third round again when he’s getting hit, his arms are out,” he said. “He’s not defending himself. He doesn’t have his hands up. He’s out.”
White said he had hoped the referee or the doctor would stop the fight, or that Dos Santos’ corner would throw in the towel.
“I always like to say that if anybody in his corner cares about him, please, throw in that towel,” he said. “I thought the fight was done in the third round.”
“Is Junior Dos Santos tough enough and does he have the heart to go through it? Yeah, but does that mean he should?” he added. “If you looking at the fight, it ended in the fifth. That guy took seven, eight minutes more punishment that he didn’t need to take until it ended.”
“There’s no need for a young, talented guy to take that kind of punishment when he’s out on his feet.”
The loss was the third of Dos Santos’ career and his second in his last three fights. Both of his UFC losses came at the hands of Velasquez.