Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White went above and beyond his powers as a promoter last Saturday (Aug. 23, 2014) in Macau, China, when judge Howard Hughes was relieved of his duties at UFC Fight Night 48, following a pair of questionable scorecards.
A move that came after White's self-described "meltdown."
As expected, his decision to tamper with the integrity of the officiating went over like a lead balloon. Not only was he called onto the carpet by the majority of mixed martial arts (MMA) reporters, but White also raised a few red flags back at the ZUFFA offices in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC.com issued a statement on Tuesday (Aug. 26) following the promotion's internal review.
After an internal review, the UFC organization announced today that a breach of its independent regulatory protocol occurred on Saturday night during UFC FIGHT NIGHT MACAO.
After the second fight of the night, UFC President Dana White requested that Howard Hughes, one of the event's five assigned judges, be removed from working any further bouts. Pursuant to UFC's protocol, neither White nor any other UFC executive possesses such authority. Nevertheless, protocol was breached and Hughes did not work further bouts on Saturday night.
The UFC organization has always been in support of government regulation and oversight. Additionally, the UFC has established a protocol when required to self-regulate events due to the lack of an official athletic commission, federation or other regulatory body. In those instances where UFC holds events in locations without a regulatory body, the UFC's protocol dictates that the organization's internal regulators will handle all commission functions independently and without interference by company executives or employees.
The UFC remains committed to maintaining the strictest regulatory environment for competition and vows that no similar breach of protocol will happen again.
Both White and the UFC apologize to Mr. Hughes for calling his professional judgment into question. Hughes has judged more than 25 UFC fight cards and the UFC looks forward to him working on its events again in the future.
Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed.
UFC is forced to act as its own regulatory body when traveling to locales without an athletic commission. That means the promotion is charged with selecting judges and referees, as well as conducting medical exams and drug tests, among other standard procedures.
It typically follows the blueprint of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and has former Executive Director, Marc Ratner, on staff to help facilitate the necessary procedures. I can only imagine Ratner's reaction to the news that Dana was sending appointed judges to the concession stand.
The good news is, it won't happen again.