Rory MacDonald’s sophomore effort under the Professional Fighters League (PFL) banner against Gleison Tibau didn’t exactly go as planned. While the former Bellator and UFC Welterweight standout did put on a solid performance worthy of a victory last night (Thurs., Jun 17, 2021) at PFL 5, the judges didn’t agree, awarding Tibau with a split-decision win.
Afterward, the majority of the mixed martial arts (MMA) community collectively erupted on social media, ripping the judges for their decision. Naturally, MacDonald wasn’t too happy, either, telling the media after the fight that it was a clear robbery and that an investigation should be launched immediately.
“I’m very disappointed. I believe and everyone I talked to, and everyone online, scored the fight for me. Even three rounds to zero, so I think it was a clear robbery,” he said via MMA Junkie. “I thought I was dominant in this fight. It was a hard fight. Gleison brought it, and respect to him, but I believe that I clearly won that fight and I think that this should be looked into.”
Granted, Tibau did have his moments and his aggressiveness stood out in the eyes of the judges. But when it was all said and done, “Red King” proved to be more effective overall.
“I was totally sure,” MacDonald said. “I was so surprised when the first judge, they announced and scored it for him. I was shocked. But when I heard the split decision that he got it, I was blown away. What do you say? I just didn’t see it that way at all.”
Bad scoring isn’t anything new, but this decision has really caught widespread attention. As a result, MacDonald didn’t get the three points he needed to get the No. 1 spot in the 170-pound bracket and will now face Ray Cooper III later this year in what is sure-to-be a thrilling bout.
Still, “Red King” is hurting this morning and says no fighter should have to worry about judges taking wins away from them.
“We shouldn’t have to as fighters, as competitors (worry about the decision). We should be able to fight and rest easy that we have competent, fair, truthful judging in our sport. It shouldn’t be something that we have to worry about and stick our necks out on the line and our health to do something stupid.
“It’s just crazy. We don’t have this in any other major sporting event,” he concluded. “It just seems like over and over and over again, we’re getting this in our sport and it’s just a real shame.”
As far as a potential appeal, PFL president Ray Sefo stated that it is up to the fighter and his team to initiate the process and see it through. MacDonald hasn’t given any indication that his team will go forward with an appeal, but all signs point to that being the case.
While decisions are rarely overturned, MacDonald may have a sliver of hope given the fact that Fabricio Werdum recently won a rare appeal after the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board overturned his loss to Renan Ferreira at PFL 3 just last month following a controversial finish.
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