UFC fighter Lauren Murphy suffered a brutal loss after her bloodied face left her looking unrecognisable.
The 39-year-old American MMA star, who is recognised as the fourth-ranked women's flyweight, was taken apart by Jessica Andrade at UFC 283 on Saturday (21 January).
Judges scored the cards as 30-25 and 30-26 in favour of the Brazilian.
Although viewers were amazed that Murphy managed to get through the fight, many were wondering why the referee didn't just call it off earlier.
Towards the end of the second round, commentator Daniel Cormier said: “I don’t know if I’d stop this fight.”
Fellow commentator Jon Anik added: “What are we trying to accomplish by going another five?”
Then as the third round started to take shape, Cormier simply urged the ref to stop the fight.
“The ref has got to stop it,” he said.
“He looks like he wants to, just do it man.”
Anik agreed: “[Referee] Osiris Maia may want to get in there. But he won’t.”
Cormier said: “I’m sitting next to [UFC matchmaker] Mick Maynard and Mick’s saying what does he need to see. This fight could have been stopped a long time ago.
“It’s so hard to watch this.”
UFC heavyweight Tanner Boser also tweeted: “That was f**ked.
“Andrade is a monster and Lauren Murphy is one of the toughest humans alive which made that even more rough.”
Bantamweight Cub Swanson added: “Mad props to Lauren Murphy for finishing that fight but her corner should have thrown in the towel”.
The 39-year-old fighter, who looked like a different person after the fight, has now addressed calls for the ref to take action sooner.
Taking to Instagram, Murphy wrote: "Thankfully I’m all good, nose is a little busted up and my head needs rest, but I’ll be fine in a few days.
"I’m glad my corner didn’t stop the fight. Tbh I thought the ref was going to stop it in the second round but the bell rang before he decided to.
"Either way, I was grateful for the chance to keep fighting. My head and nose will heal with rest, and my heart will heal with time.
"My adult life has been a dream, and sometimes I have to pay for that dream. I’ll be back sometime, but for now I’m just gonna lick my wounds and rest a bit.
"Thanks Rio for a wonderful stay and to the @ufc for an amazing trip and to @jessicammapro for the fight."