Thiago Oliveira has strongly denied biting his opponent's ear during a contentious fight in Kazakhstan over the past weekend.
Oliveira had secured a first-round rear-naked choke win over Erkin Darmenov at Octagon 44. However, he was subsequently disqualified after a video replay revealed that he had bitten Darmenov's right ear to adjust his position. Despite the damning evidence, Oliveira maintains his innocence and has stated to MMA Fighting that he did not commit the act.
“If you watch the video you’ll notice it never shows me biting him,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “I move closer to his ear so the rear-naked choke gets tight. There’s no point saying I didn’t bit him because everyone will draw their own conclusions, but watch the video and you’ll see I didn’t bite him.”
Check the fight highlights and the controversial scene below.
“Those who know me know I never needed anything like that to win,” he added. “And I wouldn’t do something crazy like that now. He was about to give up anyway, I didn’t need to bite him.”
Following the disqualification loss for biting his opponent, Thiago Oliveira's record in the sport has now dropped to 16-10. This marks his sixth consecutive defeat, a significant downturn for the one-time Bellator fighter who previously boasted an impressive 80% winning rate prior to 2019.
Oliveira has claimed that referee Dauranbek Zhakaev had intended to restart the fight after the incident, but he maintains that he did not commit any illegal acts and chose to leave the cage instead. As a result, Oliveira was not paid his win bonus.
“They didn’t disqualify me [for biting],” Oliveira claims. “I said I wouldn’t continue, and then they disqualified me. Believe me if you want, and life goes on.”
The Brazilian fighter said he isn’t sure if he still has any bouts left in his contract with Octagon, but wants nothing to do with the promotion after this past fight.