MMA fans and commentators blasted a referee for watching on as a fighter got brutally beaten at LFA 56 on Saturday.
Austin Hubbard was fighting Killys Mota for the LFA lightweight title in Minnesota, America, and while he ultimately prevailed it was the manner in which he secured his win that was most disturbing to those watching.
The fight looked like it would go the distance but with 15 seconds left in the fifth and final round, referee Joe Fipp jumped in to put an end to the punishment. For many people, the official's intervention came far too late.
As the bout entered the final minute Hubbard launched a savage assault on Mota as he pinned his opponent against the cage. Mota hit the deck but Hubbard kept his feet and hammered his cowering foe with knees, elbows and repeated punches to the head.
Mota tried to get free and found his feet but there was nowhere to hide as Hubbard continued peppering his face with his fists.
Once again the Brazilian crumpled to the floor and Hubbard's right hand stayed busy as Mota tried desperately — but failed — to protect his head. Hubbard was given free rein to keep swinging wildly as Fipp stood by and watched the carnage.
Finally, after more than a minute of one-sided violence the referee waved the fight off. But the damage was already done.
UFC writers Ariel Helwani and Chamatkar Sandhu both slammed Flipp for his conduct in the cage.
Writing for Sherdog.com, Brian Knapp said: "Referee Joe Fipp, by most reasonable measures, could have stepped in much sooner."
On a video of the fight posted on Twitter, lots of commenters voiced their disbelief at how the referee could possibly have let the fight go for as long as it did.
"Ref should never be allowed to officiate an MMA fight again," one person wrote.
Another Twitter user said: "How long does it take to show the guy is done? This is disgusting."