Cuba's Angel Matos deliberately kicked a referee square in the face after he was disqualified in a bronze-medal match, prompting the World Taekwondo Federation to recommend he be banned for life.
"We didn't expect anything like what you have witnessed to occur," said WTF secretary general Yang Jin-suk. "I am at a loss for words."
Yang also recommended Matos' coach be banned.
Matos was winning 3-2, with 1:02 left in the second round, when he fell to the mat after being hit by his opponent, Kazakhstan's Arman Chilmanov. Matos was sitting there, awaiting medical attention, when he was disqualified for taking too much injury time. Fighters get one minute, and Matos was disqualified when his time ran out.
Matos angrily questioned the call, pushed a judge, then pushed and kicked referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden, who will require stitches in his lip. Matos spat on the floor and was escorted out.
"This is an insult to the Olympic vision, an insult to the spirit of taekwondo and, in my opinion, an insult to mankind," Yang said.
Matos' coach was unapologetic.
"He was too strict," Leudis Gonzalez said, referring to the decision to disqualify Matos. Afterward, he charged the match was fixed, accusing the Kazakhs of offering him money.
Although the arena announcer said Matos and his coach were banned effective immediately, Yang said due process must be followed before officially banning the two.
What the hell is wrong with these people? First of all, at what point in this situation did this Matos guy think kicking the referee in the head would make him rescind his decision? Second, he and his coach didn't even apologize afterwards. That ref needed stitches for his injuries! I'm surprised Olympic officials didn't arrest Matos on the spot for attacking one of their own like that...What a disgrace this guy is. I certainly hope he and his coach do get banned for life from taekwondo. (Side note: I like how the World Taekwondo Federation's acronym is WTF. How apt.)
Anyways, here's a nicely-timed picture of Matos totally owning the ref (well, I guess he does have pretty good technique...):