The California State Athletic Commission is taking action after a historically awful pair of scorecards from veteran mixed martial arts (MMA) judge Doug Crosby.
Last Friday night (Dec. 9, 2022), Crosby scored the Bellator 289 main event between Danny Sabatello and Raufeon Stots. This was likely his most absurd take of the weekend, as he scored the Sabatello vs. Stots Bellator interim title fight 50-45 for Sabatello, whereas the other two judges awarding it to Stots with 48-47 scores. MMA Decisions states that’s the only time in MMA history a judge has awarded 50-45 in favor of the losing athlete, and he’s been placed under review as a result.
The next day, he flew from Connecticut to Nevada to judge UFC 282 and was one of the three judges who awarded Paddy Pimblett a 29-28 win over Jared Gordon. Though he was just one of three problem judges in this case, the decision has been widely criticized.
As a result of this controversy, CSAC executive officer Andy Foster has placed restrictions on just how much traveling judges can do between events. Per the new rules, judges cannot travel further than Nevada if they plan to score fights in California with just a single day between events.
Here’s the full memorandum from MMA Junkie:
While the Commission understands that, as Officials you may also work in other states. It is imperative that you be at your best for those assignments and keep in mind the travel distance between locations when accepting consecutive assignments. If you work in California on a Friday, the Commission finds it acceptable for you to work as far as Nevada on Saturday or vice versa. If you accept an out of state assignment that is within one day of an assignment in California, you may be removed from the California assignment if you are being required to travel further than the state of Nevada.
It’s good to see at least one commission taking some kind of action (cough, NSAC, cough), but it’s hard to say the travel and overwork was the issue here. After all, Crosby was “fresh” in Connecticut for Bellator 289 when he made his first baffling call. Then, he was merely one of the three judges who screwed up the Pimblett call.
At this point, perhaps it’s best to just accept any progress possible? Inconsistent and unreliable judging has plagued MMA for decades now, and the problem doesn’t seem any closer to being solved.