Valentina Shevchenko recently lost her UFC women’s flyweight title to Alexa Grasso.
Shevchenko believes that referee Jason Herzog contributed to her defeat by interrupting the action whenever she was dominating. This is a bit out there as far as claims go, considering Herzog has a stellar reputation and is one of the rare UFC refs that will take a point away for fouls and make sure the UFC stars fall in line.
Shevchenko shared that Herzog was also the referee for her previous outing, where he also interrupted her moments of control.
Shevchenko argued that when a martial artist works hard to score a takedown, and then the referee intervenes, it wastes their energy, and they must start all over again. This can affect their overall performance.
In a recent interview with The MMA Hour, Shevchenko talked about this:
“It’s hard to say I shouldn’t throw that spinning back kick. It’s a very powerful kick. It’s a very strong kick. I’ve done so many knockouts with this spinning back kick. It’s just the situation. It’s the fourth round and you feel not as fresh as the first round, and some actions of the referee could have provoked this tiredness that I felt during the fourth round. It’s the situation.” Shevchenko said.
Jason Herzog was also the referee for Shevchenko’s previous bout when she defended her belt against Taila Santos in June of last year.
She went on to explain that during that match, Herzog was always ruining her momentum. Shevchenko ended up winning the match via a split decision.
“I thought it could be the situation or something like this, but there was a combination where I strike and ended the combination with a head kick, and I felt Taila [got hurt] and I wanted to finish the fight, but he stopped the fight and he let her breathe. I was like, ‘OK, this doesn’t sound right, but maybe it was just the situation.’” Shevchenko said.
Similar thing happened during her bout against Grasso. She believes that Herzog was always in the way when she felt like she got to control the action, which wasted her stamina as she has to work it out all over again.
“we were on the ground position, I was in her guard and landing big shots over her, and he just decided to stand us up and continue the striking. It’s kind of the same situation where I say it could affect the fighter, what they do to take their opponent down.”
“They spend so much energy to [score a] takedown first, and second to hold them down, and when you [get a takedown] you definitely want to use the situation because you spend so much energy.”
“And when it was decided, ‘Oh no, in my opinion you don’t have to be there. You have to fight in the stand-up,’ it’s kind of working against you because it affects your performance, because you have to build the situation all over again.” Shevchenko explained.
In Herzog’s defense, he intervened because Shevchenko had landed a low blow before landing the head kick against Santos. Meanwhile against Grasso, Shevchenko had to stand them back up because their position on the ground didn’t have any improvements for almost two minutes.
Ezra Samuel is a passionate freelance writer with a particular love for covering MMA news. His interest in the sport dates back to his college days, and he has since established himself as a respected voice in the MMA community. Over the years, Ezra has contributed his writing to a variety of digital outlets, including the popular site calfkicker.