Referee Vyacheslav Kiselev removed from UFC 267 event after questionable officiating

Ref removed from UFC 267 after not stopping fight (0:35)

UFC referee Vyacheslav Kiselev is taken off the UFC 267 card after not stopping the Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Benoit Saint-Denis fight. (0:35)

ABU DHABI -- In a rare move, UFC removed a referee from its UFC 267 event Saturday, immediately following his performance in a preliminary welterweight bout.

The promotion pulled referee Vyacheslav Kiselev from the event after he declined to stop the welterweight bout between Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Benoit Saint-Denis. Zaleski dos Santos, of Brazil, hurt Saint-Denis with right hands in the second round and followed up with a long series of unanswered punches and knees.

At one point, Saint-Denis retreated to the fence and did nothing but cover up. UFC commentators and even fans in attendance began to call for the fight to be stopped. Kiselev did not intervene, however, and Saint-Denis somehow managed to keep fighting and even made it to the end of the bout. He lost via unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the bout 29-26 in favor of Zaleski dos Santos.

There is a history of UFC removing officials for incompetence in the middle of an event. UFC president Dana White famously removed a judge from a UFC Fight Night event in 2014 in Macau, China, after the judge turned in two odd scorecards. UFC later said White broke protocol in that incident, as that move has to come from internal regulators.

Kiselev was scheduled to oversee a light heavyweight bout between Volkan Oezdemir and Magomed Ankalaev later in the evening.