“Yo, Tommy. I didn’t hear no bell,” Rocky Balbao famously said to Tommy Gun in the movie “Rocky V.”
That’s what UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (pictured) claimed when asked about the two devastating punches he floored Chad Mendes with to close out the opening round of Saturday’s shootout at UFC 179.
Aldo blitzed an already dazed and confused Mendes with a devastating three-punch combo to the dome. On replay, it was clear the final two strikes were after the bell.
Aldo says he didn’t hear the horn. “Scarface” thought when referee Marc Goddard stepped between them, it was because he had finished Mendes off like in their initial encounter nearly three years ago. Aldo was set to storm the audience again to celebrate with his Brazilian brethren.
“It was like deja vu,” Aldo said at the post-fight press conference. “When it was about to end right there, I thought I had already won the fight. So I landed two punches, and the ref got in front of me, and I thought I had won, but the round was over.
“I heard the crowd. Everyone was screaming, and I thought I was going to be able to run into the crowd again, but they put me back in, and we had to restart the fight.”
Aldo wasn’t the only one who didn’t hear the bell. UFC president Dana White said the arena was deafening when Aldo unleashed his flurry.
“I guess on TV, it looked really dirty, like real deliberate punches after the bell,” White said. “I was in that arena, and I didn’t hear anything. I didn’t hear the bell. I didn’t hear anything. Maybe some people did, maybe some people didn’t, but I didn’t.
“I don’t think it was deliberate, not to mention that normally the referee is right there when the bell rings to break it up in case that would happen. I don’t think he heard it, either. So that’s my two cents.”
The punches were clearly late, but Goddard should have anticipated the bell and been closer to the fighters to ensure there’s no funny business. However, if Goddard didn’t hear the horn, or the 10-second warning wood clap prior, it’s understandable why he wasn’t in the proper position.
It was a bang-bang incident, and unfortunately for Mendes he was on the wrong end of it. Those things happen in the fight game, just like the two accidental eye pokes Mendes caught Aldo with, as well as the unintentional kick to the groin that he nailed Aldo with.
Aldo went on to retain his title with a convincing unanimous decision victory.