Matt Brown: Jiri Prochazka showed ‘humility’ by not complaining about UFC 295 stoppage, but ‘it was definitely early’
The finishing sequence began with Pereira blasting Prochazka with a punch that dropped him to his knees, after which the former light heavyweight champion went for a takedown. Pereira then unloaded a barrage of elbows, causing Prochazka to go limp momentarily before the fighters fell to the canvas.
A split second later, referee Marc Goddard rushed in to stop the fight, however Prochazka sprung back to his feet immediately. Afterward, Prochazka said Goddard “was right” with his call and said that he accepted the loss.
While UFC welterweight Matt Brown appreciates Prochazka’s statement and sentiment, he says the reality is Goddard pulled the trigger a little too early and Prochazka is just taking the high road with his response.
“It was definitely early,” Brown said on The Fighter vs. The Writer. “I don’t think there’s any question about that, especially at this level and especially at the championship level. Not that there should be a difference, but there should be a difference between amateur and then pro. At that level, it was certainly early.
“Personally, I think that’s Jiri’s humility coming out of him. I think if it was the worst stoppage in the world, you wouldn’t see him complain. He might say something about it, but I don’t think he’d complain about it. He’s just that kind of guy. He’s got the samurai spirit deep running in his blood. I don’t think you’re going to hear from him any real complaints and I have a lot of respect for him for carrying himself that way. But the ref, you’ve just got to let it go.”
Brown has often argued for referees to allow the fighters every opportunity to escape a bad position rather than stopping a fight when there’s still a chance for a comeback.
That being said, Brown acknowledges that Goddard and other referees have an impossibly tough job so he sympathizes with the decisions they’re forced to make, but he can only speak from a fighter’s perspective. In this case, he wishes Prochazka was given more time to either fight back or allow Pereira the chance to stamp his victory with a definitive ending.
“This is what we do for a living … give the guy a chance,” Brown said. “We’ve seen some insane comebacks. To be fair to the referees, it is very subjective. You’ve got a split second to make a decision. So it’s kind of hard to compare one fight to another. There’s certain things that they’re looking for and they’ve got a split second to change a fighter’s entire career right there. It is a very difficult situation that they’re in, but it was early.
“I don’t think [Prochazka] would have got out either, by the way,” Brown added. “I think Alex would have finished and Jiri probably would have taken more punishment. I do think that would have happened, but I’d rather see him take that punishment and go out properly on his sword or his shield.”
When it comes to officiating, Brown commends Goddard for being a top-notch referee, one who is often counted on to serve as the third man in the middle of some of the biggest fights in combat sports. But that faith in Goddard as a referee still doesn’t exclude him from occasionally making mistakes.
“Marc Goddard isn’t known for doing that so I do have sympathy for the referees and the position that they’re in,” Brown said. “It’s a difficult situation, especially when I’m sure that the refs learn about concussions and brain health and things like that, and that makes it complicated when you know this could affect the guy for the rest of his life negatively, but also if you stop it too soon.
“I always go back to the Neil Magny–Hector Lombard fight. You could have stopped that six or seven or eight times, like so many times. Neil goes on and wins because the ref was letting them fight. Just an amazing victory by Neil. He deserves all the respect in the world for that. But those situations like that remind me that we never know what’s going to happen. We’ve seen it enough times now where guys come back from getting rocked and winning, right on the verge of getting knocked out or the fight being stopped and they come back and win.”
As much as Brown believes the result would have been the same, with Pereira winning by knockout, he still wishes Prochazka had the opportunity to come back, but that was taken away from him with the early stoppage.
“Only in this sport do one a million shots happen,” Brown said. “That’s why we love the sport.”