Ref Condemned for Extra-Late Stoppage at Fury FC 76 Gets UFC Judging Gig, Texas Commission Responds

Ref Frank Collazo looks on as Edgar Cháirez traps Gianna Vazquez in an arm-bar after choking him unconscious with a triangle at Fury FC 76
Ref Frank Collazo looks on as Edgar Cháirez traps Gianna Vazquez in an arm-bar after choking him unconscious with a triangle at Fury FC 76 Credit: Fury FC

It was not a good look Friday at Fury FC 76, as a referee’s indecision resulted in a trip to hospital for a fighter who had gone unconscious under the official’s watch.

Fury FC 76 saw one of the worst non/late stoppages of all time, as referee Frank Collazo allowed Mexican flyweight Gianni Vazquez to lose consciousness, come to, then have his arm shredded while tapping to an Edgar Cháirez arm-bar before the fight was finally, mercifully stopped.

The commentary team definitely picked up that Vazquez had gone out, hollering that it was over, as did the fighter’s corner — who asked an official outside the cage to intervene, a request that was subsequently denied. Vazquez’s coach threw a bottle in the cage to get the ref’s attention, to no avail; the fighter was later transported to hospital.

Following the unfortunate and downright scary turn of events, Vazquez’s teammate, Carla Esparza, and coach, Colin Oyama, both shared their thoughts on the matter.

“I feel so frustrated for my teammate [Gianni Vasquez],” Esparza wrote on Facebook. “1st his opponent missed weight by 2.5lbs, then this ref puts his health and safety in jeopardy. What we do is already so dangerous, but it’s the refs job to keep us safe. They really messed up big time, shame.”

Esparza also reposted a statement written by Oyama, calling for both ref Collazo and the commission’s corner inspector to be ousted.

“This ref needs to lose his job. And also the idiot inspector in my corner who refused to stop the fight even after I asked him to intervene and told him that my guy was out. Because of the stupidity of these two, my fighter may have possible fractures in his elbow joint according to the ER that we went to. It’s always funny how Athletic commissions are always warning us to act accordingly and show them the respect that they deserve.”

“Respect? The only thing these two commission guys deserve is to get fired. I had to watch my kid get his arm snapped off, while neither of you did a damn thing, hell I even threw a damn water bottle in there to try and stop the fight. Just because you work for the athletic commission doesn’t mean you are above reproach. You both need to be held accountable for your stupidity.”

On Saturday, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, who oversaw the event, told Cageside Press that “TDLR is aware of concerns about the officiating in one of last night’s fights. All TDLR officials receive ongoing training and we monitor each fight for consistency in officiating.”

The governing body did not address a question regarding any upcoming assignments Collazo might have. However, as noted by Alex Behunin, Collazo appears to have drawn a judging assignment at Saturday’s UFC San Antonio.

“Fight officials for each competition are always selected in conjunction with promoters,” Tela Mange, TDLR and Texas Boxing Commission Spokeswoman, also advised Cageside Press.

Fury FC, in their own statement, appeared to contradict this claim:

It is the referee’s job to protect the fighter when the fighter cannot protect him or herself. In last night’s main event, the referee failed to do this. While the job of a referee is one of the hardest to do in this sport, the need for proper and continued training would help to alleviate things like this incident.

We do not hire, train or select refs for our shows, but we would be more than willing to lead a revamp and overhaul of the reffing and judging selection and training process.

Vazquez fell to 8-5 with the loss; hopefully there will be no long-term ramifications from the ref’s blunder.