May 06, 2009

Benji Radach and Scott Smith had, what most onlookers would call, the fight of the night at Strikeforce's April 11 debut on the Showtime network. No one would argue that it was a back-and-forth throwdown that ended when Smith landed a knockout blow late in the third round.

Radach, however, has since indicated that he plans to appeal the bout. In an interview with ESPN The Magazine, he made his case for several missteps by referee Herb Dean over the course of the fight.

First, Radach says that Smith grabbed the cage in the second round -- an illegal tactic -- which helped him escape a guillotine choke that Radach believes would have finished the fight. Second, he says that he "was not out" and was getting back to his feet when the fight was stopped due to what he and his management reviewed afterwards as being an illegal blow to the back of the head.

"The only thing that I'm a little upset about is that I think it was a quick stoppage," Radach told shortly after the event. "I was recovering after that first shot and I went down to my side. I was coming back up and he socked me straight down square in the back of my head.

"(The rules state) you can't hit anybody in the back of the head, ear-to-ear, and it was dead center in the back of my head, and the ref stopped it. I don't think that was quite right."

In his interview with ESPN The Magazine, commenting on the decision to file an appeal, he added, "I'm not a sore loser, and I think Scott Smith is a great guy. I wish it didn't come to this. But I'm just doing what I think is right."

Smith and his management team will obviously do what is necessary to deal with Radach's appeal, but they're not happy about it.

"He's obviously entitled to his opinion, but we're disappointed that Benji is trying to take away from what was such a great fight," said Smith's manager, Mike Roberts of MMA Inc.

"At this point, we're moving on and are completely focused on Scott's June 6 fight with Nick Diaz."

As of the time of publication, no time frame for the appeal had been set.

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