One of the more overshadowed talking points of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Saturday was how the fight was stopped.
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Nurmagomedov remained undefeated after sinking in a triangle choke to tap Gaethje in the second round of their lightweight title unification clash. Gaethje appeared to have tapped almost instantly but it took referee Jason Herzog a few more tapping motions before he finally stepped in.
By the time the fight was called off, Gaethje was already out. It led many observers as well as commentator Daniel Cormier to believe it was a late stoppage as Gaethje was tapping well before the final tap.
There were some, however, who felt Gaethje was not tapping initially but attempting to strike at Nurmagomedov. And Herzog would add to that point further on social media by claiming Gaethje was fighting until he was put to sleep.
“When you’re being choked like this and your base disrupted your trapped arm as limited range of motion. Justin fought that until the end and we stopped the bout at the moment.”
When you're being choked like this and your base disrupted your trapped arm as limited range of motion. Justin fought that until the end and we stopped the bout at the moment. https://t.co/6S0AcjzT1V
— Jason Herzog (@JasonHerzogMMA) October 24, 2020
On closer inspection, however, it still does appear that Gaethje was tapping.
You can rewatch the final moments of the fight below and be the judge yourself: