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Shots After The Bell: Bad decisions in Charlotte, North Carolina

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Sharing random thoughts on what we just witnessed at UFC on FOX 27.

UFC Fight Night: Bermudez v Fili Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had to complain about crappy judging at a UFC card, which is obviously progress. Gone are the days when only a rare card had good decisions handed out. Yet here we were in Charlotte, noticing a string of scores that didn’t quite make sense but at least got the winner right most of the time through the undercard.

As the Dennis Bermudez vs. Andre Fili fight went on, my spidey senses started tingling. This was exactly the kind of fight a bad judge would blow.

Fili was way rangier than the stocky Bermudez, making his punches look long and clean. Bermudez was forced to charge in and scrap, with every engagement a messy affair. But the numbers don’t lie: Bermudez outstruck Fili in every round. A skilled judge would have seen that. A novice might dismiss Bermudez’s attacks as messy and ineffective.

This is one of those fights where it should have been clear who the correct winner was (Bermudez), but it’d be hard to call a full on robbery with 29-28 scorecards. But then there’s that score from Pedro Claudio, who gave the third to Fili despite it being Bermudez’s most dominant round. It’s that kind of score that graduates this from a bad to terrible decision.

Claudio was also involved for the other bogus decision on the card, a prelim battle between Justine Kish and Ji Yeon Kim. Veteran judge Sal D’Amato called it 29-28 Kish. Claudio had it 29-28 Kim. Steve Elliot, who was reffing his first ever major league MMA card, had it 30-27 Kim. You don’t have to be new to dope it up, though. Veteran Roy Silbert gave Drew Dober all three rounds of his fight with Frank Camacho, which is an affront to anyone who has full or even partial sight.

We kicked off the main card on Big FOX with the soothing sounds of Curt Menefee telling us Charlotte had not adopted the new Unified rules or scoring guidelines. Maybe we should watch and see whether that becomes an obvious sign as time goes on that a certain commission is more likely to employ judges and refs of a lower caliber.

If they’re the kind of organization that falls behind the times on such a big change in MMA, it does seem logical that they may not have their s**t together in other areas too.

Hey It’s That Fishing Guy Again

UFC Fight Night: Dennis Bermudez v Andre Fili Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Who the hell is Gregor Gillespie? That’s a question you probably read several times in the lead up to this event, usually dripping in scorn at the quality of this card. And yeah, I hear you. We’ve seen UFC Fight Night cards getting pre-empted to FOX Sports 2 with better undercards than this weekend’s product on Big FOX. But for all the lack of hype he had coming into Charlotte, it’s time to get on the Gregor Gillespie bandwagon.

So who is Gregor Gillespie??? He’s just the best damn fisher in the UFC! That’s a fact that he’ll trumpet after every UFC win — of which he now has 4, to bring his record up to 11-0. And while that may be a bit strange, it was that particular bit of self-branding that made me remember who he was in the haze of the 250+ prelim fights I’d witnessed in 2017.

He also has some serious ground skills with the ability to climb all over his opponents on the canvas like a kid on a jungle gym. Add in some Khabib style ground and pound and you’ve got someone to watch in 2018. By the end of this year the world may finally recognize his fishing talent.