One of combat sports’ most well-known rules is that the fighters should protect themselves at all times. Apparently, that applies to referees as well.
On Saturday at UAE Warriors 39 in Abu Dhabi, one unlucky in-cage official found themselves embroiled in a fight of their own after a competitor suffered a brutal knockout loss. Rustem Kudaybergenov scored a quick finish of Ilkhom Nazimov, putting him down with a right hand square to the side of the head, but that was just the beginning of the action as a clearly disoriented Nazimov proceeded to scuffle with the referee as he regained his senses.
Watch video of the bizarre scene above.
Following Kudaybergenov’s fight-ending blow, Nazimov crashed face-down onto the canvas, an impact that undoubtedly discombobulated him further. Nazimov was helped up by the referee, who had to defend himself as a confused Nazimov attempted to clinch with him. In the clip, Nazimov can also be seen pushing the referee away and throwing a kick to his body.
Nazimov looked to be squaring up to continue the fight before other officials entered the cage to calm the situation. It’s unclear if Nazimov will face any punishment for striking a referee, though given the circumstances, it’s likely that they’ll let this one slide.