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UFC Jacksonville, The Morning After: How many wonky cards can one bad judge deliver?

Here’s what you may have missed!

UFC Fight Night: Emmers v Jenkins Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

UFC Jacksonville, which took place last night (Sat., June 24, 2023) inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, was not an event where the judging overshadowed the card. After all, Ilia Topuria didn’t leave a whole lot of room for interpretation in the main event, and the entire rest of the main card ended before the final bell.

Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi it was not.

Yet, a significant player from that robbery was active last night, and his long-standing streak of handing in absolutely bizarre scorecards continued unabated. Indeed, Chris Lee was back in action, once again standing apart from his peers and common sense alike from the undercard to the main event.

Let’s start at the top.

Topuria beat up Josh Emmett for the majority of five rounds, landing a whole lot of shots and a pair of knockdowns in the fourth round. Lee didn’t award Emmett the nod on his card — wouldn’t that have been hilarious? — but he did hand in a fairly bizarre 10-7 round that resulted in a 50-42 scorecard.

It’s not egregious on its own, but it’s a bad read. Not one of the 21 media sources listed on scored the fight so severely. Most settled on 50-44, which is what fellow controversial judge, Sal D’Amato, entered on his card.

Those two will pair up in nefarious fashion momentarily, but first, Lee was the “split” in “split-decision” in the “Prelims” headliner between Neil Magny and Phil Rowe. It was a classic Neil Magny vs. prospect fight. Rowe started well with some good lands, started tiring under the weight of Magny’s clinch and activity, then slowly lost control of the fight.

Is there a better gatekeeper than Magny in any weight class? He’s turned away more would-be ranked fighters than anyone I can think of. Anyway, Magny did enough to win the fight on two of the three judges’ scorecards, as well as 10 of the 13 media scores.

Lee, meanwhile, dissented. Once more, it’s neither an indefensible position nor a good scorecard.

The worst example here came on the early undercard, when talented Bantamweight prospects Jamall Emmers and Jack Jenkins threw down for three rounds. The stats are nearly even in terms of total shots landed, but Emmers seemed to consistently land harder and racked up a significant amount of control time.

Lee and D’Amato scored the fight for his opponent. Judge Troy Wincapaw went the other direction hard, scoring all three rounds for Jenkins. The media was more unanimous: all 10 scorecards submitted had Emmers as the victory, and half of those gave him all three rounds.

In fact, 85 percent of fan votes backed “Pretty Boy” as well.

A fight should be allowed to be close-but-clear, but that’s not the case. Any fighter who doesn’t outright dominate their opponent continues to risk losing half their paycheck ... and there’s no sign of it changing any time soon.

You get what you pay for.

For complete UFC Jacksonville: “Emmett vs. Topuria” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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