Paris, France — In a sport rife with controversial finishes (not to mention brutally poor judging), there was little surprise at seeing UFC Paris hit with a questionable stoppage of its own.
Arguably, however, the all-French featherweight fight between William Gomis and Yanis Ghemmouri had a weirder finish than most. After landing a kick on the belt line, Gomis was awarded a TKO victory when Ghemmouri turned his back on the action. Ghemmouri believed the kick to be low — he immediately reacted — and walked away from the fight looking for relief, no doubt expecting the ref to call him.
Instead, the ref waved off the fight as the ailing Ghemmouri could only watch in disbelief. Technically, a fighter turning their back and disengaging from an opponent is grounds for a referee stoppage, but rarely does it happen — refs tend to give a fair amount of leeway when fighters signal low blows, though that is not a hard-and-fast rule.
Weird as it was, it was not a weird finish in the eyes of William Gomis, who told Cageside Press and other media outlets following the fight that “It’s not weird, because for me, it’s just a middle kick. And we can see that in the [replay]. For me it’s just a stoppage. I’m not a referee, but if the referee says it’s a stoppage, it’s a stoppage.”
The kick did appear to land on the belt line, with replays showing Gomis’ foot sort of dragging the trunks of Ghemmouri up. It may have been a glancing blow, though there’s little doubt Ghemmouri felt it.
Gomis for his part feels the kick was clean.
“Yeah,” replied Gomis when asked if he believed the kick landed above the belt. “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.”
Regardless, the French fighter, who improved to 13-2 with the victory, felt he had the fight in hand anyway. “For me, I have two rounds, and I will win,” he stated. The 26-year old now sits on an 11-fight win streak.
Watch the full UFC Paris post-fight press conference with William Gomis above.