Ion Cutelaba loses appeal, TKO loss at UFC Norfolk will stand

Feb 29, 2020; Norfolk, Virginia, USA; Ion Cutelaba (red gloves) reacts to losing against Magomed Ankalaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chartway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Ion Cutelaba loses appeal, TKO loss at UFC Norfolk will stand

One of the most controversial finishes of all time will not be overturned.

In February at UFC Norfolk, referee Kevin MacDonald stopped a light heavyweight fight between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba in 38 seconds after Ankalaev wobbled Cutelaba as the two were throwing bombs at each other.

Cutelaba, who never hit the ground after the punch, immediately started protesting MacDonald’s decision. Following the loss, he would  later go on to say that he was faking that he was hurt.

Now the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has ruled that the TKO win for Ankalaev will stand. ESPN was first to report the news and Cutelaba’s manager Tiago Okamura confirmed the report to MMA Fighting.

DPOR spokesperson Mary Broz-Vaughan informed Cutelaba’s team of the commission’s decision.

“I find the account given by the referee, who has the authority and responsibility to stop a contest when he believes a participant is injured, to be credible,” Broz-Vaughan wrote. “Whether video replay or popular opinion or hindsight makes one second guess a decision later is not at issue.”

The UFC attempted to book a rematch between the two, but the fight never materialized due to the coronavirus pandemic. Originally the rematch was booked for April 18, but Ankalaev was unable to travel to the United States due to the travel ban.

Ion Cutelaba attempted to fight again once the Ankalev rematch fell through by fighting Ovince Saint Pruex on April 25. That card has also been cancelled.

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