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'Only one person to blame': UFC referee says he has learned 'harsh' lesson after getting slammed for late stoppage

'Only one person to blame': UFC referee says he has learned 'harsh' lesson after getting slammed for late stoppage
UFC official Jason Herzog has said suggested he has learned a "harsh" lesson as he appeared to apologize after being widely criticized for not stopping the light heavyweight fight between Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira sooner.

Veteran referee Herzog eventually called things off just over a minute into fifth round of the main event in Jacksonville on Wednesday, although many felt the stoppage should have come sooner as Smith shipped heavy punishment for more than two rounds. 

Herzog came in for heavy criticism on social media afterwards, while Smith's corner were also slated for allowing their man back into the fight when he was offering so little in response to Teixeira's consistent barrages.

Also on rt.com 'Hold this': UFC fighter Anthony Smith hands referee his TOOTH as fighter breaks eye socket and nose in gory hammering (VIDEO)

Herzog appeared to acknowledge he could have acted sooner in a statement on Twitter, writing: "The sport of MMA is beautiful. It's pure. And an incredible teacher. 

"Some lessons are more harsh than others. I've seen a lot of opinions abut what should have happened, who was at fault. 

"But let me be clear, there is only one person to blame. Me.

"I am responsible for each fighter I am entrusted to oversee. I will take this experience, make the necessary changes and get better." 

Former title challenger Smith had been forced to hand Herzog his teeth during the bout, indicating the level of damage he was taking against his 40-year-old Brazilian opponent.

Smith appeared aware of the criticism directed toward the official as well as his corner, but defended all concerned in a statement of his own.

"Everyone is arguing about good stop, bad stop, bad corner, good corner...blah blah blah," he wrote on Instagram. 

"I’m still winning. I’m good, and I’m exactly where i need to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

"All that time spent worrying about me needs to be spent somewhere a little more productive."