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It’s Funny when a Referee gets Kicked in the Head

The Beijing Olympics have come to a close and by all accounts have been a success. Kudos to you Beijing, although I still don’t have it in my top five vacation destinations.

The games will be remembered for Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals or Usain Bolt’s blazing speed in the 100 and 200, but for me the memory is Angel Matos kicking Chakir Chelbat.

image of Angel Matos kicking Chakir Chelbat, courtesy of


Sounds innocent enough given the sport is Taekwondo but Chelbat was the referee and when a referee gets kicked intentionally by a competitor – that is funny.

I watched the video of the incident several times and each time it brought a smile to my face. It was a good kick, well executed. Clearly Matos has talent.

It got me thinking – is it justified/understandable? Here is an athlete that has trained in Cuba for four years leading up to the Olympics. He is in his final match and it isn’t the gold medal match – this was for the bronze. Win you get a medal, lose you finish in possibly the worst place you can at the Olympics. Fourth. He was winning by one point when he was hit by his opponent and fell to the mat. In taekwondo you get a full minute of injury time after which you are disqualified. Matos took the full minute and a few seconds later was awarded his fourth place… medal.

His argument was that the referee and judges were too strict with the ruling. Now there would be my first area of disagreement with Matos – as a spectator, I think I’d like the referees to be strict about rules in the Olympics. He made his point by kicking the referee in the face, pushing a judge and horking on the mat. That, my friends, is funny stuff.

image of Beijing Olympics 2008 I realize that taekwondo is just a subset of MMA but the coverage of TKD at these Olympics does not help anyone’s delusion about MMA becoming an Olympic sport. In addition to the Matos comedy, there was a match in women’s TKD that was overturned after the bout that impacted the medals awarded. A kick was initially not ruled “solid” enough for points but after a protest it was deemed to hurt the opponent just enough to score two points. Please don’t subject MMA to this type of scoring system for the sake of “mainstream”.

Taekwondo – the way of the foot and fist – was on display at the Olympics and it at least gave me a chuckle.

Run as fast as you can Usain Bolt, and congratulations to you Michael Phelps but a gold medal also goes to you Angel Matos – you made me laugh.

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  • kat says:

    I don’t get this statement: “taekwondo is just a subset of MMA.” MMA is mostly composed of boxing, kickboxing, judo, pancration, grappling, jiu-jitsu – and karate…of which taekwondo is but one form. Depends on the competitor and their training.

  • sam says:

    I dont think its funny at all.

    Gilbert Yvel did way worse when he knocked out that ref in finland and then kicked him in the head while he was out on the ground. I still dont know why he wasnt arrested.

    It prevented him from being licensed in Nevada, but he can still fight in Japan of course.

  • PKN says:

    Angel Matos sucks. He is used to kicking competitors wearing protective head gear and despite blindsiding an unprotected ref he still couldn’t get a KO. Sad really.

    I agree with the article mostly. MMA should never be judged on an obtrusive point system and that photo is pretty damn funny.

  • Krumbz says:

    Great article Matt! Way to show respect!

    This is journalism at its best…

    I hope you get kicked in your facial region sometime.

  • rob enderle says:

    The guy was the 2000 champion which means he was nearing the end of his career and knowing nothing about the homo activity that is TKD dancing, the call does nothing to make me change my mind about it being a dinky little sport.

    The shiteating brits I heard describing compared the medical team to a pit crew. Bullshit! The pit crew works for the racer. This medical crew we are told isnt part of national team which makes no sense. You cant be following strict time limit and then have a third party drag their feet.

    Besides, any sport where you can take away a medal from a guy this way is a bigger joke that figure skating.

    Training 4 years and having some dickwad pull this BS knowing how political judging is in EVERY sport… I would have done the same thing.
    Dont condone it but under those conditions, totally understand it.

  • Ron says:

    ao – no prob. Take care.

  • ao says:

    ron – re read….good point. im a little sleepy and a little buzzed

  • Ron says:

    ao – The guy clearly says that this is bad for MMA and gives it a bad name.

    It’s articles like this that let’s anyone that TKD was even in the olympics for god sakes.

    How would you describe it? The pure ridiculousness of it makes it hilarious.

    Uncalled for and stupid yes, but so is TKD in the Olympics.

  • ao says:

    if matt thinks that a “professional” assaulting a ref is funny then let him get in there. it’s atricles like this that turn many critics and fans alike off from combative sports.

  • MMA_Hole says:

    How is that funny? I hope that if you get attacked by a trained athlete out of the blue, you see the funny side too.

  • Ron says:

    ao – what does that even mean?

  • ao says:

    2 bad matos didn’t kick this journalist in the head

  • Mike says:

    Right…good point. Kicking the ref with a fast kick is okay….but a slow one…that would have been a real crime.

  • Jonesy says:

    If you watch it, you will notice that the guy does it real fast.

    The pic makes it seem much worse.

  • Ray Ray says:

    I liked it when the ref got kicked in his head.

    That’s the part I liked.


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