Las Vegas, NV — Dan Argueta was the unfortunate victim of a referee error that stole a potential victory from him at UFC Vegas 75 on Saturday.
Argueta (9-1) had opponent Ronnie Lawrence in a guillotine choke when ref Keith Peterson checked to see if Lawrence was still conscious. Lawrence, as was clear to anyone watching at home, was still alert and attempting to fight off the choke — but Peterson got his wires crossed and waved off the fight.
Lawrence instantly protested, and Argueta could but watch as instant replay confirmed the error — resulting in a no contest. Under Nevada regulations, a fight cannot be restarted once it is stopped for review.
“I was about to get that finish,” Argueta told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight. “I threw that shallow guillotine on him, obviously it’s one of my tricks and I held it, I held it— when I felt the ref pulling him off, I was like ‘damn, he’s already asleep. I didn’t even start the crank yet!'”
There’s two chances to tap from that submission, noted Argueta. “It’s suffocating him, and then all I have to do is kind of crank it a little bit, and usually I’m getting just about everyone to tap.”
“That was really unfortunate. That was quite a few months of work. That was about 14 months, since I was at bantamweight. That’s the weight class that all you guys wanted me to come into the UFC at. And that’s what I can do in, I don’t even know, two minutes? Two and a half minutes?”
Argueta stepped into the UFC on short notice as a featherweight, and stayed there for his last fight, a win over Nick Aguirre. Saturday marked the first fight at 135 in the company for The Ultimate Fighter 29 alum.
“I want to run it back,” Argueta said backstage, taking the high road when it came to the referee’s error. “I think it’s the same outcome, minus — okay, Keith has a hard job. I’m not even going to sh*t on him. I get it, his arm was up, I watched it, it looked like he could have been sleeping when his arm’s up, because I did have his shoulders kind of pinned up like that.”
As bad as Argueta no doubt feels for himself, he also felt for the fans watching. “I can’t really apologize. I wish I could apologize to all the fans who wanted to either see me get my hand raised, see me walk off with an L, or just wanted to just watch me fight in general. I apologize to all those fans, that’s a tough one to swallow, and I’m just grateful to the UFC that I even have an opportunity to go try something like that.”
In the fight itself, Argueta said he was “the most focused I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt amazing. It’s just tough when things don’t go your way, and I had so many plans for myself this year, and that was the first hurdle. And someone took it from me. That hurts.”
Though the option to restart the action doesn’t exist in Nevada, Dan Argueta would have been all for it. “I would have liked that,” he said. The 29-year old also has no qualms about Peterson reffing another one of his bouts.
“No. He doesn’t want to make that mistake twice. I would trust him.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 75 post-fight press conference appearance by Dan Argueta above.