Kerry Hatley's stoppage in Jalin Turner vs. Bobby Green fight
Every year in MMA contains several controversial stoppages but Kerry Hatley's blunder at UFC Austin may be the worst referee stoppage of all time.
Fresh off of a knockout win over Grant Dawson, Bobby Green was scheduled to face Dan Hooker in the co-main event on Dec. 2. However, an injury forced Hooker to be replaced by Jalin Turner on one week's notice.
A career journeyman, Green had a chance to end 2023 by shockingly putting himself in title contention with a win. Conversely, Turner had seen his hype slim down, entering the fight with back-to-back losses and a 13-7 record.
The crowd was fully behind Green, though it would be Turner who wobbled the California native early. With Green struggling to find his footing, Turner would put his lights out with a straight right hand and vicious ground-and-pound.
However, it would be the ground-and-pound strikes that turned the fight from impressive to scary as Hatley inexplicably stood over Turner hammering an unconscious Green with multiple massive shots. By the time the fight would officially end, the crowd had nearly gone silent with the commentary team irate at the late stoppage.
Though the fight did not lead to one of the commentators yelling at Hatley as Dan Hardy did to Herb Dean in 2020, the optics of the UFC Austin co-main event were worse than any other referee controversy. Turner had hit Green —who lay fully unconscious and still — in the head at full power for roughly 10 seconds while Hatley stood directly over the two fighters with a clear view of both men.
Dana White told media after the event that Hatley felt severe remorse for his slow actions in the fight but the referee has yet to make an official response or statement on the situation.