Throughout the history of mixed marital arts (MMA), several fighters have filed appeals after controversial losses due to what they felt was bad officiating or judging. But getting athletic commissions to actually overturn the original decision has proven to be a difficult task.
But in a rare successful appeal, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight contender, Chas Skelly, had his submission loss to Bobby Moffett at UFC Fight Night 139 in November of 2018 overturned to a “no contest” by the Colorado Office of Combative Sports and Colorado Combative Sports Commission.
That’s according to Skelly himself, who took to Twitter to celebrate the news and provide and part of the letter he was given explaining the commission’s decision.
“In reviewing the bout video in its entirety, as well as the video submitted by you, I have concluded that the mechanics of the referee helped in creating an untimely stoppage of the fight, which resulted in an incorrect decision being rendered in this bout,” wrote Tony Cummings, director of the Colorado Office of Combative Sports director. While I find no malice in the referee’s actions in this situation, it is my opinion that the view of the fight ending sequence showed that a proper defense was being employed and that as such, the sequence should have been allowed to play itself out. There was no indication that the submission attempt resulted in you verbally submitting or being rendered unconscious. Because there was no indication of a verbal or physical submission, nor any indication you were rendered unconscious, and that the referee’s mechanics contributed to the untimely stoppage of the bout, this bout will be overturned to a ‘no contest,” Cummings wrote. “The results of this appeal will be sent to the appropriate record keeping data bases for recording.”
Halfway through round two, Skelly found himself on the wrong end of a d’arce choke. After trying his best to get into a better position to survive, the referee on duty inexplicably jumped in and put an end to the fight. Naturally, Skelly immediately popped up to his feet to protest the call.
See how it all went down here.
While the records will now show a “no contest” instead of a loss, a lot of the damage — which likely won’t be reversed — has already been done.
Due to the botched call, Skelly wasn’t given the opportunity to not only earn the win, but the other half of his paycheck. Had Skelly gotten out of the hold and went on to win the bout, he would have earned an extra $25,000 in “win bonus” money. Not to mention, he could have potentially earned another $50,000 with a “performance” bonus.
Then again, there is no telling if Skelly would’ve been able to escape Moffett’s tight choke if he was given a few more seconds. Indeed, there are a lot of “what ifs” that Chas has had to deal with since.
Still, if you ever catch yourself questioning a fighter’s decision to appeal a controversial loss be it due to incompetence judging or officiating, this is why they do it.