Herb Dean, Jake Ellenberger foot

NAC dismisses Jake Ellenberger appeal for toe wedged in cage, TKO loss

NAC dismisses Jake Ellenberger appeal for toe wedged in cage, TKO loss

It was one of the strangest endings to a mixed martial arts contest in recent memory.  Earlier this month at the TUF 24 Finale, Jake Ellenberger’s toe became lodged in the octagon fencing inside the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Opponent, Jorge Masvidal swarmed in to land a few punches and officiating referee Herb Dean put a halt to the contest.

At first it seemed as if Dean was stopping the clock to allow for Ellenberger to break free and adjust himself.

From there it would have been a mystery where Dean would have started the fight had it resumed. Would it have been standing or back down on the canvas with the possibility of “the Juggernaut” getting trapped again?

Those questions didn’t have an opportunity to be answered because Dean left the cage to speak with officials from the Nevada Athletic Commission. After a brief discussion, Jorge was given the TKO win since Jake couldn’t “intelligently defend himself.”

The problem however was that Ellenberger was not yet hurt by the punches and at the time he could somewhat defend himself, his priority was in getting his foot loose.

Working for Appeal and Rematch

“It was very bizarre. My foot got caught in the fence and I assumed it would be restarted. At least that’s how I understood it, ” said Jake during his Fox Sports 1 post-fight interview.

“I could defend myself because my mind was clear and I assumed he would restart it. But then they told me it’s over, so i have no idea,” said Ellenberger.

As far as damage to his toe, Jake says it may be partially dislocated after it was lodged awkwardly in the fence.

“They tell me it’s partially dislocated. I turned and my foot stayed thee in the fence. It was weird, it happened fast.”

“But, like I said, I assumed they would restart the fight but they told me it was over,” he added. Still, Jake says he won’t accept the loss on his record, as he intends to appeal the controversial call.

“We keep moving forward, that’s all we can do. Appeal and hopefully it gets turned into a no contest,” concluded Ellenberger.

Decision Comes Forth

Unfortunately for Ellenberger, and in another example of the very restrictive circumstances in which appeals can succeed, the Nevada Athletic Commission dismissed the appeal.  The NAC noted no error in interpreting the rules took place in the bizarre set of facts leading to the end of the bout.

Executive Director Bob Bennett concluded, “there is no provision in NAC 467 that prevents referees from calling a timeout to consult with other officials prior to rendering a decision.”

In justifying the outcome, despite other occasions where equipment failure/interference led to a timeout and restarting the bout Bennett stated their case.

“NAC 467 does not include a provision that requires the continuation of contests in such circumstances. Alleged precedent does not provide grounds for a change of a referee’s decision“.

A full copy of the letter of the decision from NAC Executive Director Bob Bennett can be found here.

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