In the aftermath of confusion surrounding a stoppage during the Bellator 292 fight, referee Jason Herzog has addressed critics and provided an explanation for his decision

Referee Jason Herzog ultimately made the correct decision, but it was not an easy one to make.

Herzog presided over the quarterfinal bout between Alexandr Shabliy and Tofiq Musayev in the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix, which took place at Bellator 292 on Friday in San Jose, Calif.

The fight ended in a third-round TKO after Musayev was hit with a body kick and was unable to recover.However, the conclusion of the fight was far from straightforward when it happened in real time.

Herzog initially paused the action when Musayev appeared to react to a low blow, and replays showed that Shabliy’s heel brushed Musayev’s cup as it descended after the kick landed.

Herzog spoke to the injured Azerbaijani fighter through a translator and asked if he could continue, but Shabliy declined twice.

Herzog received criticism on social media for his decision, but he was vindicated later in the evening when Bellator President Scott Coker announced that Shabliy’s kick had broken Musayev’s rib.

In a conversation with MMA Underground after the fight, Herzog explained that he had seen the fair blow and that incidental contact with the cup had given Musayev time to recover.

Herzog also explained that he had spoken to Musayev through a translator and made it clear that if he could not continue, the fight would be stopped due to the fair blow, resulting in a TKO.

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