You know a UFC Fight Night didn’t go well when the biggest headline that comes out is a failed call instead of great fights. Such is the case with UFC Vegas 38, which started off red hot during the “Prelims” undercard but ended in a disappointing main card. The head fight: a snoozefest. The co-main: A no-contest due to a headbutt… but only declared a no-contest after Kyle Daukaus and Kevin Holland battled past the headbutt and until Daukaus subdued Holland with a rear naked choke.
A lot of digital ink has already been spilled about the situation and the way the committee (and UFC staff) have handled things. It was just messy as hell from the moment referee Dan Miragliotta decided not to intervene and interrupt the action after Daukaus and Holland collided.
We’ve all seen plenty of fights where a referee’s decision not to intervene after a foul (accidental or otherwise) has resulted in a less than fair result. In this case, the committee decided to turn back time and nullify everything after the headbutt — a choice that only seemed to become popular after Marc Ratner, head of UFC regulations, stepped into the discussions.
The right result done the wrong way? Probably.
But that doesn’t mean Daukaus is happy about it. The little brother of heavyweight Chris Daukaus wanted to keep his family on the winning track at UFC Vegas 38 and looked to take over the Netherlands until things went wrong.
“I don’t know what’s going through my head right now. It just annoys me,” he said at the UFC Vegas 38 post fight press conference. “He recovered from the headbutt in a way, and [the referee] said nothing while we were there. He was still fighting so it was fine, for me it was fine.
“If that had happened to me, it would have been fine,” Daukaus continued. “If he had stood up again and if he had gotten back up and knocked me unconscious, they would have made a big deal of it on ESPN by saying, ‘Oh, he got a headbutt and then got up and hit me knockout.’ But because he’s recovering from a headbutt, giving up his back and I’m strangling him, I get a no-contest. So… it is what it is. I don’t know.”
Holland offered a rematch after the fight was called off and Daukaus seemed interested.
“Yeah that’s fine. I don’t care,” he said excitedly. “It would’ve bothered me… and it will still bother me. It’ll keep chasing me until I get the win, so it’s just more motivation during training.”
Daukaus initially stated that he was interested in turning around as soon as possible before adjusting his potential schedule due to his brother Chris’ fight against Derrick Lewis on December 18, 2021.
“I’m healthy now,” he said. “I have a little bump on my elbow from the fence, that’s about it. I’m going on vacation next weekend, so everything in the weeks after that is fine. My brother has a fight in December, so probably after that. Yes, after that. I let him focus on what he needs to focus on, it’s the biggest fight of his life so far. Everything after that, maybe early next year. I do not know. But . . . we need to figure out what’s going on with the money issues and things like that, figure out what’s up.”
That’s the biggest flaw that comes out of this: a No Contest for Kyle means he’s only making his show purse, not his winning purse. Half his salary, gone. Again, it was a situation where Daukaus took reality with grim acceptance, but you could tell the situation was bothering him.
“No. No, why should I?” he said when asked if he would ask for his winnings, “They said it wasn’t a game, there’s no reason I should… my record isn’t 11-2, it’s 10-2-1 So I don’t need to get an extra bonus.”
Daukaus said he knew there were problems the moment Nevada officials turned off the red rating light.
“One of the umpires threw a yellow light and they told us in the back that if the light comes on, the replay will be judged,” he said. “So I knew right from there, I’m getting screwed here. Well, not really screwed, but yeah.
“The rules are the rules,” he continued. “Those are the rules. If it says in the writing that all headbutts that end up fighting… It’s not like we headbutted, [the ref] cried the battle, [Holland] couldn’t continue. He recovered, I took his back and strangled him. I don’t know what else I could have done. But… it’s in the rules, so I have to stick to it. Stick to it and move on.
“The referee didn’t jump in, Kevin threw up a triangle and had pulse control. I shrugged and the fight continued. If the fight had continued and the round ended, the fight would have turned out very differently. I’m not going to be biased and say they were watching him or anything like that. I’m not going to say that because that’s not the intent of the UFC or anything like that. If he had gotten up from that headbutt and knocked me unconscious, that would have been ESPN Top 10 tomorrow. So I do not know.”
Neither do we, Kyle. This is just one of those incidents where there’s no good solution and someone gets screwed no matter how it’s handled. These things happen in MMA.
For full UFC Vegas 38: “Santos vs. Walker” results and play-by-play, click HERE.