Former BYU star Jan Jorgensen suffers first MMA loss amid controversy

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Local fans watched their hometown hero suffer his first shocking mixed martial arts loss in a bizarre turn of events September 28.

It took less than a minute for former BYU cougar Jan Jorgensen to to lose his first MMA fight, and the defeat came about in a controversial way: via an eye poke. Jorgensen’s opponent Eric Smith poked the former BYU football star in the eye and dropped to the ground and UFC referee Herb Dean called a stop to the action.

MMA fighter Jan Jorgensen protests with referee _____ after falling to the mat with an eye injury. Photo courtesy Rob Norbutt
MMA fighter Jan Jorgensen protests with referee Herb Dean after falling to the mat with an eye injury. Photo courtesy Rob Norbutt

“I have to watch out for the safety of the fighters,” Dean said.

The fight started with a furious pace. Both fighters converged in the middle quickly with very little dancing around. Smith, Jorgensen’s opponent, landed a hard punch that made Jorgensen back up a little bit.  Jorgensen threw back and in defense Smith swiped his hand across the eye of Jorgensen.

Jorgensen fell to his back and covered up in pain from the eye poke. Smith followed Jorgensen to the ground and began punching. Dean decided he had seen enough and called the fight just 26 seconds into the first round.

“I told the ref I was poked in the eye and that I could still fight,” Jorgensen said.

Many fans saw the eye poke and felt a let down that the fight ended that way.

” I was upset when the fight ended. I saw the eye poke and thought the fight was going to be stopped to give Jan time to recover,” said Jace Nixon, a fan sitting cage side. “The fight started out with so much action too.”

Jorgensen was upset Dean didn’t see his eye injury.

“I have gone back watched the replay and the eye poke was pretty obvious,” Jorgensen said. “I want a rematch and get this loss back. … I want a rematch. Eric is a good fighter but I feel like I would win.”

Still, contesting the result would be difficult for Jorgensen.

“The eye poke was not intentional so it would be hard to overturn the loss to a no contest,” said Jason Mertlich, Jorgensen’s coach.

Jan’s teammate Clay Collard, 20, won the Showdown Fights lightweight championship in a five round thriller on the same card. The fight went back and forth for 25 minutes with no clear loser before Collard  defeated former UFC vet Justin Buchholz via split decision. The fight was a rematch from last year in which Collard lost in the last round via submission.

In the co-main event former University of Utah football player Sean O’Connell defeated former UFC pioneer Marvin Eastman in a three round decision.

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