Riggs: "It was a Bad Stoppage"

Written by Tom Ngo
September 21st, 2008

MMA veteran Joe Riggs controversially lost his bout against Japanese fighter Kazuo Misaki last night at Strikeforce at the Playboy Mansion II. In the 2ndRound, Misaki landed a straight right that dropped Riggs and referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in as Misaki was raining down punches while he had Riggs fully mounted. Riggs claims the fight was stopped prematurely since none of the shots on the ground landed.

“It was a bad stoppage,” Riggs told Sherdog.com after the fight.

Riggs had just knocked Misaki down right before Riggs was sent to the canvas himself.

“I just got done dropping Misaki and I let him up, as I wanted to finish him on the feet,” Riggs expressed. “He faked a dive and he hit me in the temple and it rocked me. I fell back and immediately. I didn’t lay there, my head didn’t hit the canvas.”

For those that missed the match, what Riggs is stating is true. After the first shot, not once did Riggs ever look like he was in trouble. Also, Misaki was throwing repeated shots towards Riggs’ head, however a very small percentage, if any, actually made it past Riggs’ forearms and gloves.

“Once I hit the ground, cob webs were cleared. I didn’t get up wobbling, nothing,” Riggs proclaimed. “I have had almost 50 fights. I’ve never complained about a stoppage in my career, never. And this one’s bad.”

It is tough to blame a referee that errs on the side of caution, but in this case it did seem as though Rosenthal may have jumped the gun. Misaki may have been throwing a lot of punches, but if none of them landed, there is no reason to step in.

“He postured up and was just throwing punches, a bunch of punches,” Riggs added. “He didn’t let up. I was covering. I was waiting for him to stop punching, because you know you’re gonna stop punching eventually. Once he stopped, I was going to pull up and hit him. Nothing was getting through, he was hitting me on my gloves.

“Josh didn’t say ‘I’m gonna stop it, I’m gonna stop it.’ If he would have, I would have [taken] some punches to the face and pulled him down.”

Once Rosenthal stepped in to stop the fight, Riggs immediately jumped up questioning his decision.

“I told him that I was blocking the punches, waiting for him to stop punching and I was going to pull him back down,” Riggs said.

When asked what he would have done differently to change the outcome of the fight, Riggs was able to keep his sense of humor regarding the matter.

“Just get off more,” he said. “I’ve always been a slow starter, at least that’s the way I have been lately. I need to just come off and just start throwing punches. But besides that, just not letting that bald-headed Josh Rosenthal ref my fights.  And have him with a hair net in there because he’s getting hair in the ring because he’s going bald.”

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