Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman unified the belt defeating former interim champ Colby Covington at UFC 245. Covington bitterly complained about referee Marc Goddard's stoppage. Goddard received death threats and after two months described Covington's response as “totally and utterly inappropriate, abusive,” and “threatening.” Now Usman too has weighed in.
“Taking myself out of it as the fighter that won, and also taking myself out of it looking at it from Colby’s perspective, but looking at it from the referee’s perspective [it was a fair stoppage].' said Usman to Damon Martin for MMA Fighting. "I hit him with some big, big shots in there. Hitting him with the right hand, that clearly hurt him. Hitting him with the left hand that hurt him. Hitting him with a series of punches against the cage that definitely hurt him, and then the big right hand that just sat him down really bad. So he’s hurt really bad, he got up, I let him up trying to fight back up and then hit him with another shot that just dropped him.
"For a referee looking at all of that, at the end of the day, you’re sprawled out and I’m beating on the side of your head, the referee’s got to protect you from yourself sometimes. ... You can say it’s controversial but you have to see the referee just saw you take all those big shots in a row. He has to be able to step in to protect you from yourself so you can live to fight another day.”
“The finish, all I could picture in my head was Francis Ngannou-Alistair Overeem finish or Dan Henderson-Michael Bisping. That was all I had in my mind, that I wanted to cap that fight off with but I’ll take the finish anyway that I can get it.”