Referee comments Keenan’s disqualification in the Worlds 2014

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Keenan Cornelius fighting at the Worlds 2014. Photo: Dan Rod / GRACIEMAG

Keenan Cornelius fighting at the Worlds 2014. Photo: Dan Rod / GRACIEMAG

The World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2014 ended on Sunday in California, but strong echoes are still heard.

After all, the great IBJJF event was marked by dramatic struggles at the highest level such as the final of the absolute black belt, in which Marcus Buchecha claimed his victory again over Rodolfo Vieira.

However, it also had controversy – as happened, for example, during the quarterfinals of the heavyweight on Sunday.

Bronze in the absolute on Saturday, the star Keenan Cornelius (Atos) faced Diego Gamonal (BTT ) until the dispute ended early with a disqualification. After lumping Diego with his lapel guard, the Galvão student was eliminated by crossing his leg over the knee of his opponent.

The Jiu – Jitsu black belt Mauricio Russo, one of the most experienced referees in action at the Worlds, was responsible for disqualifying Keenan. At the request of GRACIEMAG, Russo commented the episode, and pointed out that only complied with the rules. Check out:

GRACIEMAG: In your opinion, how the disqualification of Keenan Cornelius occurred, in the quarterfinals of the heavyweight black belt?

MAURICIO RUSSO: The fight began early with a very crazy and efficient movement by the athlete Keenan Cornelius (Atos). That’s when the athlete Diego Gamonal (BTT ) broke free from the mighty footsteps of Keenan, who in turn was trying to subdue him on his guard. In one of his various attempts, Keenan passed his right leg on the inside of his opponent left leg and made the “leg-cross” from outside to inside. He even put the hook under Gamonal’s right armpit, which with his indisputable experience, valued Keenan’s crossed leg. It was a very easy position to analyze, so I stopped the fight and applied the rule in effect, disqualifying the athlete from Atos.

GRACIEMAG: Keenan is a phenomenal athlete, came from an almost perfect performance at the absolute, and still had a whole cheering for him at the Pyramid. How was disqualifying a big star like that?

MAURICIO RUSSO: Look, when we walk to arbitrate a Jiu – Jitsu match, we have to forget who the competitor is. Seeking always to be fair, honest and correct with my principles. We must remember that there are two athletes seeking a dream, be it short or long term. They are fighters who abdicate to have fun, spend money on food, with airline tickets; often they are away from home and family, all in search of a better future for themselves. I’m fully aware of that, to know how to engage, how to lay all the will and determination to achieve your goal, in other words the victory. With Keenan was no different, I did my job very aware of that, because it was how I learned from righteous people who passed through my life, and I would never let them down. The show is always on the athletes, but we have to apply the rules. I have been working for 17 years with seriousness and respect for the athletes, although many of them seek not to learn the rules, often because they are not encouraged by their team leaders.

GRACIEMAG: The other arbitrators supported your decision?

MAURICIO RUSSO: Of course they supported me; after all I only applied the rule as it should. I received compliments for my conduct and personality. Many arbitrators have gone through this scenario, many gave up because maybe they thought there business is different, it really is pressure all the time. There’s no way to be more or less, or you stand or ask to leave. Some remain firm until today. Currently, the arbitrators in activity, Muzio, Luiz “Kabelinho” and I are the oldest. Obviously this does not mean that we are the best. There are many other excellent referees, and whenever I have the opportunity I learn from them.


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There are 19 comments for this article
  1. Nathan Steinke at 1:56 pm

    @ George really? Does "After lumping Diego in his Lapel guard." There really should be no discussion the ref made a legit call and Keenan was losing on points anyway. It really should have been 4 to 0 not 2 to 0… that's the call that should be discussed.

  2. Cory Dunne at 2:30 pm

    The rules clearly state that a DQ takes place only when a submission hold is in place, otherwise it is a Severe Foul. Why wasn't this mentioned in the article? Was he going off of last years rules?

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