Jessica-Rose Clark has offered her commiserations to Sarah Alpar after a controversial late stoppage in Las Vegas on Saturday night which left her opponent a bloodies mess – reportedly just three weeks out from her wedding.
UFC president Dana White hit out at the officiating from referee Chris Tognoni following Clark’s controversial win which came after the bout was briefly halted after it appeared that Clark had landed an illegal knee to Alpar’s head.
Subsequent replays showed that the shot was, in fact, legal but with Alpar displaying signs that the blow had visibly affected her, Tognoni opted to restart the fight.
The remainder of the fight followed the script of what had immediately proceeded it, with Alpar taking more damage before Tognoni mercifully called the fight off with around 40 seconds remaining in the final frame.
The damage was already done according to White.
“It’s a horrible situation,” the UFC president told the media afterwards. “Fight should’ve been over. That fight should’ve been over just like last week. She got finished. She got stopped. If you have to jump in and look at her and do anything – her nose was broken. That was a finish. That should’ve been a finish. I know (UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs) Marc Ratner is all over this.
“It’s just something that needs to be worked out. When you get stopped, and these kids are so tough and durable. That poor little girl fought her ass off again after she was able to continue. This just needs to be fixed. They gotta figure this out.”
For her part, Clark was equally critical of the referee’s decision to restart the bout but admitted that she was impressed with the grit and toughness that Alpar displayed in the cage.
“I could see [the damage] on her face,” Clark said afterwards. “I apologized to her team after the fight because it shouldn’t have kept going. There was one point where I was trying to submit her because I was like, ‘F*ck, I don’t want to keep hurting her.
“I was going for the head & arm choke but she wasn’t giving it up. She didn’t give up an inch, not for one second. I wanted to submit her because I didn’t want to keep hurting her as bad as I was. She didn’t want that to happen so, f*ck it, I’m going to keep throwing elbows.”
Clark reserved her most outspoken response for when she was reminded by a member of the media that Alpar is due to get married in three weeks’ time, and if she had any ‘bad feelings’ about potentially ruining the wedding photographs.
“F*ck dude, why did you just say that?!” she shot back. “I mean, now there is! Jesus Christ!”
Alpar, meanwhile, took to social media to reassure fans that she was OK, writing: “I just want to let everyone know I’m doing fine and my nose is slightly broken. I’m disappointed in my performance, and a little sad, but I know I will come back stronger.
“I got my butt kicked but I know what I need to do now. This is a whole new level and I will be ready for what’s to come for the next one. Thank you everyone for all their concerns, thoughts, prayers, and encouragement. I love you all and this isn’t the end!
“Thank you @missjessyjess for taking this fight with me and congrats on your win tonight. You will always be someone I look up to and hope this is one of many wins for you.”