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Dana White removes judge from UFC Fight Night 48 following questionable scorecards (Updated)

Think UFC can't influence judging? Think again.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

If you are not happy with the officiating, simply remove the offending judge (or judges).

That's the kind of power you have as a promoter when you travel abroad and are not subject to the rules and regulations of local athletic commissions. Such is the case with UFC Fight Night 48, which took place last Saturday (Aug. 23, 2014) in Macau, China (results here).

With no sanctioning body to oversee the fights, UFC acted as its own commission, which means it hand picked its own judges and referees.

That resulted in one judge being removed from the "Bisping vs. Le" Fight Pass event at the CotaiArena, because the scores were indicative of his competence as an official. That's according to UFC President Dana White, who explained his stance during the UFC Fight Night 48 post-fight press conference.

"Did you ask me sir, if it was true, that a judge was removed? Yes, he was. He was involved in the first fight and the second fight. I told the guys to go let him grab some beer and some popcorn and go sit down and start watching some fights, not judging them."

The judge in question was Howard Hughes, according to MMA Junkie, who also revealed White's decision was made during a "pretty bad meltdown." Gareth Harriman took over the open spot; however, production staff was not informed of the change, "leading to some confusion."

Conflict of interest?

I never want to see a fighter get screwed by the judges, but I'm not sure how I feel about a promoter -- with an obvious interest in the event's winners and losers -- changing judges as he or she sees fit, even if said promoter has the best of intentions.

Especially in a sport that carries serious implications at the betting window.

Did the other two judges then feel pressured to "score it right" or "score it the way White thinks is right" in fear of being removed? We don't know for sure, but the fact that we even raise these questions is problematic.

Anyone disagree?