Well it just wouldn’t be a UFC event without a little judging controversy now would it?
I’m nearly tripping over myself saying this, but yes, despite there being a “sudden death” round in place to ensure that neither of tonight’s UFC flyweight mini-tournament fights could possibly end in a draw, the Demtrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall flyweight semi-final ended in a draw anyways.
So how did it happen? Well, surprise, surprise, the athletic commission screwed up royally when tallying the judges scores from the fight. It should have been a majority draw (Sal D’Amato 28-28, Anthony Dimitriou 29-29, Kon Papai 29-28 Johnson) and the fight should have went into the “sudden death” fourth round to determine the winner. Instead, Craig Waller, executive director of the Combat Sports Authority of New South Wales, mistakenly transcribed D’Amato’s 28-28 as a 29-28 Johnson on the official scorecard seen above thus giving Demetrious Johnson the majority decision on the broadcast. Unfortunately, by the time they figured out what happened, it was too late.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Waller took full responsibility for the error.
“It was a bit of an unfortunate situation,” Waller said. “I take full responsibility for what happened.”
“The fight should have been a majority draw. We should have gone to a fourth round. I sincerely apologize to both fighters, to Dana, and to every single fan of the UFC.”
“Sal wasn’t the one that made the error,” Waller said. “It was my error.”
As you can imagine Dana White was pretty upset about the situation.
“There is nothing positive about that result. I would rather have ended it tonight. We had two badass fights that everybody loved that would have led into the title fight. That would have been best-case scenario.”
“As soon as the show ended, they came over and told me. After the card was done, they came up to me, and I said, ‘You’ve got to be [expletive] me. How is this possible?’”
“Imagine if they would have come out and said, ‘This is going to a fourth round,’” White said. “The crowd would have went crazy. People at home would have went crazy. It would have been an incredible atmosphere and an incredible moment. There’s nothing good about this, but what can you do? The commission owned up to it, apologized for it, and all we can do is move on.”
On one hand, I do kinda feel for Mr. Waller. He made an honest mistake, which he owned up to and apologized for, and I’m sure no one feels worse about this right now than him. You can’t ask much more than that. But on the other, seriously??? Can’t anything just go according to plan without a judge or a referee or a commission official screwing something up? If commissions only messed up every once in a while, it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it continues to happen all the time. It’s utterly baffling and mind-numbingly frustrating.
Image via John Morgan