Disputing the Swedish referee’s decision during the bronze medal Tae Kwon Do match, Cuban Ángel Matos kicked the ref in the face resulting in a lifetime ban for Matos and his unapologetic coach.
Matos was winning, 3-2, in the second round, when he fell to the mat after being hit by his opponent, Kazakhstan’s Arman Chilmanov. He remained there, awaiting medical attention, when he was disqualified for taking too much injury time. Fighters get one minute, and Matos was disqualified when his time ran out.
Matos angrily questioned the call, pushed a judge, then pushed and kicked the referee, Chakir Chelbat of Sweden. Matos then spat on the floor and was escorted out.
After my very recent entry on this sport and the Olympics I sort of feel like a prescient dude right now for some reason.
Update: The Times reports that Fidel Castro has stepped into the ring regarding this incident and (not surprisingly) backs his now-banned athlete and coach.
In a column in a state-run newspaper today, Castro sided with Angel Valodia Matos and his coach, who seemed to defend the kick as an appropriate protest and also alleged bribing.
Read more here.
Thinking further about this after a short conversation with N recently, I’m actually surprised the ref was able to take the direct kick to his face for the most part. That’s pretty admirable of him.
I feel like if this kick was executed by any of the UFC guys or a decent Muay Thai fighter, it would have been lights out and nap time for the ref. I want to defend the martial art of my homeland, but man, this whole situation makes it look like rather weak sauce. If an Olympic tae kwon do fighter can’t knock out a common ref with an unblocked direct shot, then how do devotees of this technique rank against other fighting styles?