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Nickal accused of cheating in UFC 285 win

UFC 285: Bo Nickal v Jamie Pickett
Bo Nickal submitted Jamie Pickett by arm triangle at UFC 285. | Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

‘I’m not a cheater,’ said Nickal when asked about the controversy.

Wrestling superstar Bo Nickal did what we expected in his proper UFC debut on Saturday night. The Contender Series graduate steamrolled Jamie Pickett on route to an arm triangle submission victory.

However, Pickett’s team are crying foul.

According to MMA Junkie Pickett is filing an appeal to the Nevada Athletic Commission accusing Nickal of landing a knee to the groin during the first and only round of the fight. Pickett’s team contends that that Pickett was dealing from the affects of that knee when he was taken down by Nickal and subsequently submitted. Pickett’s team hopes that their appeal will lead to the commission overturning Nickal’s win and making the fight a no contest.

“It’s very important that like all other major sports (including collegiate sports) replays are necessary to manage fair play,” wrote Pickett’s manager Lamont Chappell of LCA Sports Management. “It seems these types of issues from judges and officials are becoming more and more common in MMA. At the end of the day they (officials) are human; however a fighter who trains his ass off should not be penalized for mistakes by individuals who are paid to make the best judgments for the integrity of the sport.”

Nickal was told about the appeal during his post fight press conference. He appeared stunned by the information, calling it “weird”.

“I hit him in the leg, in the thigh,” he said. “I had him in a bad position along the wall. He wanted to get off the wall and he wanted the ref to stop it. If I were to have actually hit him low, I would feel bad because I don’t want to win that way. I’m not a cheater. I’m not somebody who tries to take short cuts. If I did hit him low, I would’ve just relaxed probably or let the ref stop it. But I didn’t hit him low at all, so it’s a weird move, bro.”

Many on Twitter noted the apparent low blow, with one user sharing a clip. You can see that below (until the UFC has it taken down).

Currently, the win over Pickett moves Nickal’s pro record to 4-0. Nickal’s past two fights were quick submission wins on the Contender Series. His pro debut was a KO win in Jorge Masvidal’s iKon FC promotion.

As a freestyle wrestler Nickal won gold medals at the U23 World and US National Championships. He also holds three NCAA Division I championships and three Big Ten Championships.


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