Former unified lightweight champion and current jr. welterweight contender Nate Campbell released the following statement exclusively to Fightnews.com regarding the result of Saturday night’s WBO championship bout against Timothy Bradley:
“First of all, I want to let everyone know that I am OK. There is no permanent damage to my retina. I was taken from ringside to the hospital, and was treated for what they called a vitreous hemorrhage behind my left eye. The ophthalmologist that treated me at the hospital advised me that the impairment to the vision in my left eye should clear up completely within a few days to a week at most. Never in my career have I had an injury like this where I simply couldnt see out of an eye. I’ve had cuts 100 times worse than this that I fought through, and would have done the same in this instance, however this was something different. This was not something my cutman could have dealt with.
“With regard to the decision to rule the bout a TKO, I think it is important for everyone to be aware of referee David Mendoza’s pre-fight instructions in the dressing room. Mr. Mendoza indicated that due to comments made to him by Team Bradley, he was going to be looking hard at me for thumbing, head butts, and low blows. He also gave me a very stern warning that in the event that I was fouled by Bradley, intentionally or not, that if I retaliated I would be penalized and likely disqualified from the fight. He further instructed me that if I were fouled, I was to take a step back and alert him of the foul. I complied 100% with his instructions.
“During the 3rd round, I was butted hard by Bradley, more than once. Each time, I immediately stepped back, per Mendoza’s instructions, and alerted him to the foul. With the last head butt, within maybe 5 seconds, I knew something was seriously wrong. I knew I was cut, but I also knew it was more than that. I had a large spot moving across my eye, and could no longer see out of my left eye. The change in action in the round clearly shows that I made a conscious effort to shield my left eye from that point forward. Bradley flurried some pitty-pat punches, but nothing was really getting through. In no way was I hurt, or wobbled, or anything of the sort because of any punches he threw. Let me be 100% clear on that. This was entirely about my left eye after the head butt. The ringside doctor clearly stated to me that he saw blood behind my eye, which I’m told usually indicates a hemorrhage or damaged retina. And Mendoza’s own conflicting comments broadcasted on Showtime clearly indicate the injury was a result of the head butt. He said he saw a butt, and then a punch after that. The replays clearly show the punch didn’t land, but a better question is if Mendoza indeed saw that last head butt as he claims, why did he not break us apart and inspect both fighters at that moment? This wasn’t a case of me being hurt by Bradley’s shots and trying to get out of the fight. Other than the cut, I didn’t have a mark on me. No bruising, no swelling, nothing. Even the hospital staff was surprised that I had been in a championship fight due to the complete lack of any marks on me besides the cut.
“I fully intend to file an appeal with the California State Athletic Commission. I am confident that they will hear my case fairly, and reach the correct conclusion that the bout should be declared a no-contest. This appeal will give the CSAC an opportunity to send a message that in the event of an obvious wrong, they will right it as best they can. I personally had very little contact with them during our stay, but my people told me that the person they dealt with there named “Moe” seemed to be square-dealing. All I can do is hope that they make this right.
“And to those that would say “well Bradley was winning the fight anyways”, I would say this. The last time I checked, championship fights are 12 rounds, not 3. I was behind after 3 in the Diaz fight as well, and we all know how that one ended. I’m an old-school fighter. I’m not one of these kids that just throw a bunch of fluff every round and hope the other guy tires out. I’m a 12 round fighter. I put in my work, and it pays dividends later in the fight. Before the butt, I was right where I wanted to be in the fight. I was landing nice shots inside to the body, and setting my traps. This was supposed to be a 12 round championship fight, not a 4 rounder. There are rules in place for a reason, and love me or hate me, those rules should apply to me as well. This fight ended due to an injury I suffered as a result of an unintentional head butt in round 3. The rules are quite clear on this. It should be a no decision.
“Thanks again to all those who support me, and I truly hope the new blood at the California commission does the right thing.”