UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is no longer undefeated.
Of course, that’s been the case since Jones suffered a disqualification loss in a Dec. 5 bout with Matt Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale, but “Bones'” camp immediately filed an appeal to get the decision overturned.
Jones’ camp has since received notice that the appeal will not be heard by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Heavy.com was the first to report the ruling, and multiple outlets have since confirmed the decision.
While NSAC officials were not immediately available for comment, MMAjunkie.com spoke with NSAC executive director Keith Kizer prior to the decision. Kizer clarified that the decision wasn’t actually the NSAC’s to make.
The Nevada State Attorney General’s office is the first to review appeals, and it is that office’s decision to determine whether or not the appeal will be heard by the NSAC.
Kizer clarified that point on a recent edition of “Good Sports” on the MMAjunkie.com Radio Network.
“As far as the appeal goes, the appeal goes to the Attorney General’s office to review it,” Kizer said. “I don’t know if anything is in it that leads to a changing of a decision, but I’ll leave that to the Attorney General’s office.”
A clear-cut decision
At the center of the controversy was a series of illegal elbows that Jones landed during a barrage of legal shots to Hamill’s face. After referee Steve Mazzagatti halted the bout due to a large cut on Hamill’s face, the official utilized instant replay for the first time in NSAC history to determine that the illegal shots played at least some part in creating the wound. Because the illegal shots led – at least in part – to the end of the fight, a disqualification result was Mazzagatti’s only recourse.
When Hamill returned to his feet, he revealed he had suffered a shoulder injury during earlier action. Jones’ camp cited that injury as the reason for the fight’s ending, but Kizer clarified that the cut was the real culprit.
“The shoulder injury happened about two-and-a-half minutes into the round, and then for the next minute-and-a-half or so, Matt did a very good job defending with that,” Kizer said. “So that had nothing to do with the stoppage of the fight. It was the cut. We saw actually a very big cut on Mr. (Diego) Sanchez [at UFC 107], and the referee stopped the fight in that regard. A cut is not something where you give them a couple of minutes and it will heal itself.
“It’s something where we saw the gash on Mr. Hamill in the fight, and it was a pretty big gash. But more importantly than the gash itself was that the blood was leaking into the eyes. This is the first round of the fight. It isn’t like with 20 seconds left. I’m not sure how he’s going to be able to continue to fight with the blood in his eyes, not to mention the severity of the cut. The shoulder injury had nothing to do with that.”
Many observers have also criticized Mazzagatti for his attempts to communicate with Hamill, who is hearing impaired. While videos show Mazzagatti clearly attempting to communicate with Hamill by asking, “Are you done?” prior to stopping the fight, Kizer clarified that the official did not make his determination based on any response, or lack thereof, from the fighter.
“Steve came down and leaned down toward Matt to talk to him,” Kizer said. “He asked Matt if he was OK. Matt started to respond to that, but at the time – that’s when Steve leaned over to talk to him because he has the hearing issue – that’s when he saw the cut and the blood. He stopped it right away.
“After Steve stopped the fight, I think you could see Matt grab his shoulder and start to talk about that. His shoulder was messed up, definitely, but so was his face.”
Despite the fight ending due to illegal strikes, Kizer has maintained since the night of the fight that he desn’t believe Jones delivered the blows with any malice. Therefore, Jones will not be subject to any sort of fine or suspension.
“There’s no doubt that Jones dominated that fight,” Kizer said. “Beautiful trip. I talked to him, actually, after the fight and congratulated him on his performance up until the downward elbows. He did a great job, was definitely dominating the fight. I guess he should have went for some hammerfists instead of some intentional downward elbows because that’s just a no-no – probably the only way he could have lost the fight. But he did it.
“Steve was right there watching Hamill defend. A lot of people came out the next day and said that they appreciate the referee letting the fight go because Hamill was doing such a great job defending himself. A great job by Matt, but he was still being dominated. I think if Jones had thrown some hammerfists instead of the elbows, he probably would have gotten it stopped, but he didn’t.”