There wasn’t much controversy in the way the main event judging at UFC 251 played out ... two judges not giving Jorge round one is kind of shocking, but it didn’t change the very clear-cut overall results. But boy-oh-boy, are people heated about how the co-main between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway got judged (see the official scorecard here).
Walking into the decision, Michael Bisping and Jon Anik had buttered Max Holloway up as a clear 3-2 or even 4-1 round winner. So when Volkanovski took a 48-47, 48-47, 47-48 split decision (watch the highlights here), there was quite a reaction from everyone watching at home.
And some important people on “Fight Island” as well.
“Listen, man. You can’t leave it,” Dana White declared during the post-fight press conference. “You can’t leave it to these guys. We’ve got some bad judges. We’ve got some bad judging and has Max been in here yet? I’m sure Max is devastated. I don’t know, did anybody here score it for Volkanovski? Anybody have it for Volkanovski? Nobody in the media? I don’t know. We’ll have to figure it out.”
“Looks like we gotta tighten up our refs and judges here at ‘Fight Island,’” he added later.
To be fair to Volkanovski, the fight was much closer than it initially may have looked. Most agree after mourning the untimely end of the “Blessed Era” that Max took rounds one and two while, Volkanovski took rounds four and five. The whole thing hinges on what you think of round three, which was pretty statistically even. So whichever way you see it, it’s hard to call it a full-on robbery. Not that it stopped anyone on Twitter from throwing around the term.
The overall consensus from the media was indeed that Holloway should have taken things, though. MMA Decisions tabulates media scores across the Internet and 18 of us big brained bosses gave it to Max 48-47, while only nine had Volkanovski 48-47. Regardless, we’re not going to disagree with White on the need for better “Fight Island” reffing and judging. That finish with Petr Yan and Jose Aldo was horrific to watch (but if you want to watch it, watch it here), and the one judge who scored it for Holloway somehow gave him the fifth round. So even the one who got it right ... still objectively got it wrong.
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