Featherweight standout William Gomis scored his third-straight win inside the Octagon at UFC Paris, but it didn’t come without a heaping dose of controversy.
On Saturday, William Gomis stepped into the cage against newcomer Yanis Ghemmouri as part of the afternoon’s main card festivities. Through two and a half rounds, the pair engaged in a technical kickboxing match, but things took a strange turn with mere minutes remaining in the fight. Near the 2:40 mark, Gomis threw a body kick that initially appeared to land low, prompting Ghemmouri to grab his protective gear and turn away.
We’ve seen it happen a million times in mixed martial arts. Typically, the referee will call a stop to the action and allow the fighter up to five minutes to recover. But this time, the referee took Ghemmouri’s retreat as a surrender and immediately waived off the fight. Needless to say, everyone was confused, including cageside commentators Michael Bisping and Paul Felder.
Upon reviewing the replay, Bisping was adamant that the blow was legal, noting that the kick made clear contact with the belt line. Felder wasn’t quite so sure, pointing out that Ghemmouri’s protective gear was compromised despite not taking a direct hit.
Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, the referee’s decision was final and William Gomis had his first finish inside the Octagon.
Social Media Reacts to Confusing Finish to William Gomis vs. Yanis Ghemmouri
Fans, fighters, and members of the media immediately took to X (formerly Twitter) to express their confusion and utter disdain for the illogical decision handed down by the referee.
Uh, did they wave it and the guy thought it was low? WTF?
— Luke Thomas️️ (@lthomasnews) September 2, 2023
That looked like it at least made contact with the cup, which would mean it’s a low blow.
The referee definitely should have just allowed the action to continue if he thought it wasn’t low.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) September 2, 2023
100% a low shot. What is Bisping talking about?
Referee lost the plot. #UFCParis
— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) September 2, 2023
I heard a “fight, fight” (screamed in a fighters second language, mind you), but I didn’t hear the ref say directly to the fighter “Can you continue?”
Regardless of legality of blow, that’s bad protocol right there. #UFCParis
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) September 2, 2023
Do you think it was a low blow or a fair shot in the Gomis vs Ghemmouri fight? #UFCParis
— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) September 2, 2023