Thiago Tavares wants to appeal his controversial PFL 2 loss to Robert Watley, but the situation is trickier than he thought.
The former UFC fighter took on a lightweight prospect in his Professional Fighters League debut on Thursday in Chicago looking to score points to join the 155-pound playoffs later this year, but was hit with an accidental low blow in the second round.
Tavares couldn’t continue after getting five minutes to recover, and such situation would normally lead to a no-contest under the United Rules of MMA. The Illinois State Athlete Commission has a different ruleset, though, and ended up awarding Watley with a TKO victory.
”I thought ‘My God, I’ll look at my penis and it will be broken or something like that. Something happened.’ It was scary,” Tavares told MMA Fighting. “And then the referee looked at me and said ‘if you don’t come back I’ll rule it a TKO.’ When he said that, I thought it was impossible, maybe the camera angle didn’t show how bad it was and they want to rule it a TKO. I tried to stand back up but I felt so much pain I sat down again and the doctor stopped it.
”And they still rule it a TKO due to accidental low blow, man,” he continued. “How can someone knock someone out with an illegal kick? And they still write it down in the result? It’s like a World Cup referee validating a goal with a hand and write it down that the player used his left hand. It makes no sense. If he thought he scored the goal with his head, okay, it’s only one mistake. A grotesque mistake, but only one, like giving this guy a TKO win. But they went ahead and actually made it official that the method was an accidental low blow.”
The Brazilian was rushed to the hospital and says doctors suspected maybe he had suffered a testicle rupture, but he was fine after a few hours.
Tavares will have another chance to score points and try to qualify to the playoff and win a million-dollar check, but knows it will be tougher to enter the playoff after getting no points in the opening bout. Watley currently stands as the leader in the lightweight division with five points.
PFL has yet to define when Tavares returns to the cage, who he faces, and where the fight takes place, but one thing is sure: the idea of competing again in Illinois is something Tavares is not a fan of.
”People were joking afterwards that they will start training eye pokes and low blows,” Tavares said. “You win the first round and then aim for the low blow or eye poke. It’s scary, man. A grotesque mistake. If I fight again under this commission, just aim for the low area and I’ll win the fight. How can you prove it’s accidental? Imagine a tournament final, winner gets a million dollars, and it ends with a low blow.”