Everyone is left questioning what referee Vyacheslav Kiselev was doing as Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Benoit St. Denis went on at UFC 267
Instead of talking about the victory, most are left baffled by the performance and actions of the fight’s referee, Vyacheslav Kiselev. Actually, in this case, “referee” is a bit generous of a title.
At multiple times during the second round, Zaleski appeared to rock St. Denis hard to the point where St. Denis seemed unable to defend himself. St. Denis was busted open, and more than once he appeared to be out on his feet. But for whatever reason, the fight played on.
St. Denis was then the victim of an accidental eye poke, and he informed Kiselev during a break in the action that he was unable to see. Instead of responsibly stopping the fight or calling in the ringside physician, however, Kiselev let the fight continue.
MMA Twitter is up in arms over Vyacheslav Kiselev’s questionable referee during the Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Benoit St. Denis bout at UFC 267
As dos Santos’s domination of St. Denis continued, dos Santos hit St. Denis with an accidental low blow during the third. The referee then decided to add on to his list of controversial calls by deducting a point from dos Santos.
Dos Santos went on to win the fight 29-26.
The commentary team and MMA media highly criticized the referee for his inability to act, as well as St. Denis’s corner for not throwing in the towel to protect their fighter.
MMA fans showed no mercy either.
Immediately after the fight, it was announced by Jon Anik that Kiselev has been removed from his remaining assignment of the night — the pay-per-view card opening bout between Magomed Ankalaev and Volkan Oezdemir.
Kiselev is a former MMA fighter himself, going 0-4 over the course of four bouts between 1997 and 2003.