UFC ref roasts flyweight following knockout loss to Steve Erceg

Matt Schnell found himself on the receiving end of one of UFC Vegas 87’s most unforgettable knockouts. He was competing against his Australian opponent, Steve Erceg.

Just 26 seconds into the second round, Erceg unleashed a strong left hook that sent Schnell crashing to the canvas. The impact of Schnell’s head hitting the canvas echoed through the arena, accentuating the moment.

Erceg’s left hook not only secured him victory but also earned him a well-deserved $50,000 performance bonus. Unfortunately for Schnell, the only compensation for his ordeal was a public roasting from referee Chris Tognoni. He was presiding over the main card opener.

Tognoni remarked while patting Schnell on the chest: “Man, I’m not sure what was worse, the punch or you hitting your head on the canvas, man. You’ll see on the film.”

“Did you hear it?” he questioned Schnell’s corner. The corner nodded his head in response.

Tognoni has earned praise and criticism throughout the years. But overall, he has shown himself to be a capable referee.

Although his remarks were probably made with good intentions, the poor delivery gave the impression that he was taunting Schnell only moments after his spirit had left his body.

One fan commented: “My issue isn’t him commenting about the punch. My issue is him commenting about the head hitting the canvas. He’s the ref & his job is to prevent that not entitled but attempting of some sort. Unfortunately he was so damn far he couldn’t even make a move to do so.”

As a seasoned UFC competitor with 13 bouts under his belt, Matt Schnell has faced a recent downturn in his career. He has lost three of his last four bouts inside the Octagon. The lone victory came against Sumudaerji in July 2022, secured via a second-round submission.

On the flip side, Steve Erceg boasts an impressive record of 3-0 since joining the promotion last year. Apart from his win at The APEX during UFC Vegas 87, Erceg has notched wins against David Dvořák and Alessandro Costa.

Matt Schnell’s recent misfortune serves as a stark reminder of the sport’s harshness. While Erceg continues his undefeated streak, Schnell faces the challenge of bouncing back from a string of defeats.