Jon Jones walked out of UFC 247 with his light heavyweight belt, but it was a close thing aided in part by the questionable judging provided by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation. The whole night featured bad scores and the wrong people winning, and as Jones and challenger Dominick Reyes fought into the final minute of their five round fight the commentary booth voiced what we were all thinking: hopefully the judges get it right. Reyes clearly took the first two round, and Jones the last two. Round three was debatable.
In the end only one judge provided a total head scratcher of a score: Joe Solis delivered a 49-46 Jones verdict that had Reyes only winning the first round. Chris Lee provided the least controversial card, 48-47 Jones with the champ taking rounds three, four, and five. Marcos Rosales also delivered a 48-47 Jones verdict, but gave Jones the second round and Reyes the third.
After the event, UFC president Dana White commented on the judging for the main event and the Texas judging as a whole.
“The scoring was all over the map,” White said at the post fight press conference. “Joe Silva, former matchmaker here, had it a draw. Kevin Iole hit me up, he had Jones 3-2. Going into the last round, I had Dominick Reyes 3-1 going to the last round. My kids are terrorizing me that the fix is in, ‘How could this happen, Dad?, Reyes won that fight,’ and the list goes on and on of people who are reaching out to me. So it’s not like there’s this landslide of people saying it was a robbery or whatever. People have it all over the place.”
“But the reality is, who gives a sh*t? We’re not judges. None of us are judges, the judges called the fight, and that’s that. And as far as the judging and the reffing tonight, do I think it was perfect? I do not. It could use some work down here. I think Marc Ratner and Hunter Campbell have to work with these guys and they don’t do a lot of big fights down here. And we all know that these kids work so hard and sacrifice so much.”
“Let’s take Dominick Reyes and Jon Jones out of the equation. If you’re the first prelim of the night, you worked so hard to get there. You guys have heard me for twenty years talk about reffing and judging. It’s never going to be perfect, but it has to be close. These kids work hard to get here.”
“We can work with these guys,” White said when asked what could be done. “First of all, the powers that be in the commission have to realize there were mistakes made and these things are gonna happen. Nothing’s perfect. No commission is perfect. No state is perfect. And it’s just something we have to work on. But in the Reyes fight, it was so all over the map and I talked to some guys who said ‘You can’t run the last two rounds and take the title away from the champion.’ So you have people that think a lot of different ways on how you score a fight. But we’re not judges.”
As for the possibility of Dominick Reyes getting an immediate rematch?
”I never talk about fights right after,” White said. “First of all, you guys weren’t here, I was just backstage doing interviews. Jon Jones walked by with his legs all wrapped in ice. And they carried Dominick Reyes right by him. Like, guys were carrying him. So when you see that shit backstage, you know you just saw an incredible fight.
”Do I think that he deserves a rematch? Sure he does. But we’ll see what happens.”