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Bruno Silva Criticizes Ref Gary Copeland for Eye Poke Controversy at UFC Atlantic City


Silva wasn’t pleased with referee Gary Copeland’s approach
during his controversial loss to Chris
Weidman at
UFC on ESPN 54.

“Before the fight, the referee comes to the dressing room and
advises all fighters that open hands are not allowed and can be
considered a foul,” Silva told Sherdog.com. “Weidman was unfair
during the whole fight.”

“Blindado” pointed out that Copeland wasn’t as lenient earlier in
the evening, when he took a point from Herbert
Burns for an eye poke in the opening round of his bout against

“He took one point from him after the second eye poke,” Silva said.
“I got eye poked four times, and he did absolutely nothing.”

Silva said that his team didn’t initially understand why he fell to
the ground during the final sequence against Weidman until they
viewed the replay. While the bout was initially a stoppage win for
Weidman, it was later changed to a technical decision victory for
the ex-middleweight champion.

“Even my team could not understand, then I asked them to look up
the replay and they immediately understood my attitude,” Silva
said. “Weidman not only poked my eye, he moved his finger to the
opposite side, tearing it. Then he used the other hand to poke my
other eye. You can see in the replay that his punch hit my
shoulder. So when I fell to the ground, it was to protect myself.
The referee was able to see the same in the replay, but he made the
wrong decision.”

When addressing the situation, Weidman
blamed Silva for falling to the canvas after the foul

“It’s easy to say that when it’s not your eye that is seriously
hurt,” Silva said. “Unfortunately, we don’t train to get our eyes
poked. I just can say that was a pain I never felt before. I truly
respect Weidman as a fighter and human being, but I got really
disappointed by what he said in the press conference after our

After the controversy, Silva has asked his manager to appeal the
New Jersey commission to overturn the fight to a no contest.

“That would be the most fair,” Silva said. “And, since our fight is
not over, I hope Weidman accepts to fight me again. I wouldn’t
invite him to fight in Brazil because the commission wouldn’t clear
me to face him in May, but I know that soon UFC will return to New
York, so let’s make that rematch again in his house.”

However, Silva is also aware that he could be released from the UFC
after his third consecutive loss.

“I have three more fights on my contract, but I’m totally aware of
that possibility,” he said. “But I never rejected a fight. Whenever
UFC called me, I said yes, no matter the oponent and the time I
would need to get ready. The UFC knows I’m a truly hard worker who
always puts my profession ahead of my own family. All my fights
were wars. I just don’t think I deserve to finish my story with UFC
in that unfair way.”

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