Reports from MMAJunkie are saying Walt Harris (10-7) plans to appeal his DQ loss to Mark Godbeer (13-3). This fight was originally slated for the undercard of UFC 216, but Harris stepped up short notice to face former UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1), which left Godbeer without a dance partner for the night, which led to him being removed from the card. The bout between Harris and Godbeer was rescheduled for UFC 217.
Harris started off doing well in the bout. Things were going normally, until Harris threw a knee that hit Godbeer in the groin. The referee verbally signaled for the action to stop, while he seemed to be touching Harris, when at that time, Harris threw a headkick that connected at that same time. At the 4:29 mark of Round 1, the doctor deemed Godbeer unfit to continue. Godbeer won the fight via DQ, which has put Harris on a two fight losing streak. Also, on the internet, he’s been deemed a cheater. Harris offered his side to the story on MMAJunkie Radio just two days later.
Harris says, he couldn’t see or hear the referee while these events took place. “I felt like the referee was a bit late,” Harris said. “He said he yelled, but it’s a fight. I can’t hear you yelling. I barely can hear my own corner. I’m in the middle of a fight trying to finish the fight. From what I saw on the replay, I saw he was getting there as the kick landed.”
While he isn’t getting much internet support, he isn’t going completely without support. According to him, he has the support of UFC President, Dana White. “I spoke with Dana afterward, and he told me to contest it,” Harris said. “He said he felt like, you know, there’s a replay and I had a chance to win it if I appealed. And that’s what I’m going to do, I feel like, at worst it should have been a no-contest. If you remember, Curtis Blaydes and Aleksei Oleinik had the same type of situation, and they gave Curtis the win.”
“I just don’t understand how mine went to a straight disqualification when there was conclusive evidence on the replay that the knee didn’t land low and I was in the heat of the fight. It wasn’t like the referee put his hands on me, stopped my momentum, and then I went off and hit him. I was in the middle of a combination. So, to just go straight to a disqualification, is like – I don’t understand it.”
Harris referenced a bout that took place earlier in the event. After Blaydes threw an illegal kick to his downed opponent, the fight was halted, and the doctor deemed Oleinik unable to continue. The replay, however, showed that the kick only grazed Oleinik’s ear, which means it didn’t cause fight ending damage. Blaydes ended up winning the bout via TKO.
Harris believes that his appeal will be a success, but in the meantime, he plans to take the week off, then get back into the gym to prepare for what’s next in his career.