Cedric Doumbe discusses controversial loss at PFL Europe: ‘Marc Goddard just stole the fight’

Cedric Doumbe still doesn’t understand what happened this past Thursday.

Doumbe faced Baissangour Chamsoudinov, also known as “Baki,” in the main event of PFL Europe 1. After a competitive first two rounds, referee Marc Goddard called a stop to the bout in the third, after a bizarre sequence prompted by a splinter in Doumbe’s foot. Doumbe immediately protested the stoppage, but Goddard wasn’t hearing it, declaring a TKO victory for Baki, due to Doumbe’s injury.

Speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Doumbe explained what happened that evening from his perspective, and questioned Goddard’s handling of the situation.

“At first, if you see the footage, I tried to remove [the splinter] by myself with the other foot,” Doumbe said. “It didn’t work, so then I raised my hand, talked to the referee and said, ‘I have something under my foot’ because I didn’t know how to say splinter. He said, ‘Don’t stop, don’t stop. Keep going. Fight.’ Then I was like, OK, he doesn’t want to understand. He doesn’t even want to listen. So I kept going. I got back into the fighting stance.

“Then I was looking in Baki’s eyes and I was like, OK, I can remove it by myself, but I don’t want him to kick me in the head. But I know he’s not that type of guy. So I look at him and he saw there was something wrong with my foot, and was like, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘I have a splinter’ in French, ‘under my foot. It is annoying.’ ‘Just remove it!’ And then he talked to the referee, said something like, ‘Let him remove the thing.’ Then I stopped also, looking at the referee, and then he stopped the fight.

“I was shocked. ‘What the hell? What the hell is happening?’ Then the referee said, ‘You cannot stop the fight.’ I said, ‘Yes, I know, but I didn’t stop the fight!’ Then after everything, we’re cool. I was cool, I was relaxed. I said, ‘Marc, can I talk? … You told me I cannot stop the fight. I said yes. That’s the rules. I kept going, I kept fighting. But the second time I didn’t stop the fight. Baki talked to you and then you stopped me.’ Then he said, ‘No! You cannot stop the fight!’ He didn’t want to listen to me. I was very sad, because we trained three months, my team and me we did a lot of marketing about that fight, it was sold out, everybody was proud, everybody was waiting for that fight, and Marc Goddard just stole the fight. I really don’t understand.”

On the PFL broadcast, rules expert “Big” John McCarthy declared that Goddard handled the situation correctly by the letter of the law, but even in hindsight, Doumbe believes the extenuating circumstances should have merited a different reaction from Goddard.

“Of course, to be a referee is very, very hard. It’s not an easy job,” Doumbe said. “To be a referee, to be a judge, that’s very, very complicated. I understand that. But you have to listen to me. I fought with two broken ribs … I’m not a little girl. I can fight, I’m a man. But a splinter is something outside of the fight.

“If I’m fighting with Baki, Baki breaks my arm, it’s OK because I’m prepared for that. But something wrong inside the cage … that’s not normal. You have to stop the fight, remove the thing, and then let the fight continue. So really, that’s the mistake. To be a man, you have to recognize you did a mistake. Of course it’s not easy to be a referee, I cannot blame you, but you have to listen and say, ‘OK, I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have stopped the fight like that. This is not a TKO, this is a No-Contest.’ Then we go back again and do the fight.”

Doumbe confirmed that he intends to appeal the loss — the first of his MMA career. Whether or not that is successful though, the former Glory Kickboxing two-weight world champion says that he and “Baki” have to run this back as soon as possible, to truly determine who is the better man.

“Of course I’m interested, because as I was winning the fight — I’m a man,” Doumbe said. “If I were in that situation, in Baki’s situation, to say, ‘Cedric Doumbe won the fight because of a splinter,’ I would say ‘No, don’t raise my hand. I didn’t win the fight. I want a rematch. I want to fight him because I know I’m able to beat him. I want to beat him for real, not like this.’ It’s not fair. As I’m a man, as I’m a warrior, I want to win fairly.

“So of course I want a rematch. Of course he has to take the rematch because I think he’s a man, he’s a warrior too. So we have to give the fans what they want. We have to figure out who is the best between him and me. I showed that I was the best, and if you watch the fight, I’m winning the fight. So if you really want to be the guy who beat as he said — the legend, Cedric Doumbe, he has to take the rematch and beat me for real.”

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