Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made history last night (March 2, 2012) at UFC on FX 2: "Alves vs. Kampmann" as the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion kicked off the first-ever Flyweight tournament to crown its first-ever 125-pound champion.
Aside from two great battles put on by the four competitors who who were hand-picked to participate in the tournament -- Joseph Benavidez vs Yasuhiro Urushitani and Demetrious Johnson vs Ian McCall -- the event also, unfortunately, had the much dreaded "controversy" word attached to it.
That's because the original decision that was announced inside the Octagon, which declared Demetrious Johnson earned a very close split decision victory over Ian McCall, was not the correct call. After further review it was discovered that Commissioner Craig Waller actually tabulated the judges scores wrong and the rightful decision should have been a majority draw.
Prior to the event kicking off, the UFC instituted a new rule stating that if either of the tournament matches was a draw, they would go into a sudden death round, which is what should have happened last night, as UFC President Dana White explained it at the UFC on FX 2 post-fight press conference:
"Unfortunately, controversy has stuck to us like glue lately. These things happen, human error happens. The Demetrious Johnson/Ian McCall fight was not scored properly. The fight was a draw. In the case of a draw, the fight was supposed to go to a fourth round. I mean I don't even know what to say, but the commission has taken responsibility."
However, the mistake was discovered way too late and the damage had already been done. Unfortunately for "Mighty Mouse," his victory will be wiped away and will now be forced to take on "Uncle Creepy" one more time later this year to determine who in fact will meet Joseph Benavidez in the flyweight final.
So what exactly happened?
Commissioner Waller gave at the UFC on FX 2 post-fight press conference.
"One judge actually scored the round a 10-8. It was down on the tally card as a 10-9 round, which scored it as a majority win to Johnson. But that 10-8 would have made it into a majority draw. It was on Sal D'Amato's card. Sal wasn't the one that made the error, it was my error. It was a bit of an unfortunate situation. I take full responsibility for the error that was incurred. Unfortunately I misread one of the scorecards which were transpired over the tally sheet. The fight should have been a majority draw. We should have gone into that fourth round. I sincerely apologize to both fighters, to Dana, and to every single fan of the UFC. It's great to see that it's been taken well by both combatants and their looking forward to a rematch hopefully in April. Once again, my sincere apologies to the error that was concerned and all I can do is apologize. I'm very, very sorry."
A disappointed McCall stormed out of the Octagon upon hearing the judge's decision to award Johnson the victory. Now, he gets a chance to make things better for himself as he has a rematch against Johnson that will take place in the very near future.
The good news is that the "do over" will determine a definitive winner. The bad news is that Benavidez will now have to sit tight a bit longer to fight again, waiting to see who will prevail in the rematch and who will meet him in the first ever UFC Flyweight title fight.
History was indeed made in Sydney, in more ways than one.