MMA News: Watch Referee Fail to Save Unconscious Grappler from Nasty Arm Injury

This referee apparently missed the tap as one grappler fell unconscious.
(Versus Invitational)

Combat sports fans are up in arms over how long it took the referee to stop a grappling match at a recent Versus Invitational event in the Netherlands.

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Referee's Delayed Reaction at Versus Invitl 4

Versus Invitational 4 took place in Eindhoven, Netherlands last weekend and featured a stacked card of grappling bouts, including Grand Prix tournaments for an -88kg No Gi division and a -77kg Gi division.

The final bout for the -88kg Grand Prix saw German grapplers René Haendel and Sven Groton square off to see who would walk away as the tournament winner, but unfortunately the match ended with a disturbing scene after the referee apparently failed to see Groton tap (clip courtesy of @Max_Randall).

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With Groton already stuck in a triangle, Haendel extended his compatriot’s arm to a gruesome angle and looked up in confusion when the referee made no move to step in and stop the match.

Groton appeared to tap once before he went unconscious from the triangle, but even after Haendel forced the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt’s arm to pop it still took several seconds for the referee to finally intervene.

Groton Updates Fans After Grappling Match

The visual of Groton’s arm during the match’s finishing sequence was an ugly one, but the German grappler updated fans via Instagram and indicated that his elbow had luckily only been dislocated.

Groton did make sure to note that the “ref failed terribly though” during the match with Haendel, and it’s fortunate that the referee's delayed reaction at Versus Invitational 4 doesn’t appear to have resulted in any lasting damage to the German grappler.

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Drew Beaupre


Drew is an MMA writer that regularly watches regional events in addition to major promotions such as the UFC, PFL, Bellator, and ONE Championship. He joined MMA Knockout when it was founded in 2023.