UFC 247 may be best remembered for its officiating rather than its outcomes. And that’s unfortunate, given the PPV card offered an entertaining evening of martial arts prowess.
The big debate, of course, was the outcome of the main event. Light heavyweight champ Jon Jones retained his title against Dominick Reyes, with scores of 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46. Many of those watching might have given a similar 48-47 score to Reyes, who seemed to have secured the first three rounds. The 49-46 score, meanwhile, was out of left field.
UFC President Dana White addressed Reyes’ performance, and the judging, following the bout.
“Do I think that [Reyes] deserves a rematch? Sure he does. But we’ll see what happens,” White told reporters backstage in Houston.
The scoring of the fight, noted White, “was all over the map. Joe Silva, a former matchmaker here, had it a draw. Kevin Iole [journalist] hit me up, he had Jones 3-2. Going into the last round, I had Dominick Reyes 3-1. Going into the last round.”
Everyone has an opinion, it seems. “My kids are terrorizing me that the fix is in, and ‘how can this happen dad? Reyes won that fight.’ And the list goes on and on of people that are reaching out to me,” said White. “So it’s not like there’s this landslide of people saying there was a robbery or whatever. People have it all over the place.”
“The reality is, who gives a sh*t. We’re not judges. None of us are judges, the judges called the fight, and that’s that,” White added. “As far as the judging and the reffing tonight, do I think it was perfect? I do not. I think we need to do some work down here.”
The Jones fight wasn’t a clear robbery, when it all comes down to it. Just a close fight that could have gone the other way. There were robberies on the night, however. Andrea Lee was arguably one victim. Andre Ewell was bafflingly handed a 30-27 score in his fight against Jonathan Martinez, in what was a very close split decision otherwise.
Marc Ratner, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Hunter Campbell, UFC Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President, have to work with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), White suggested. “They don’t do a lot of big fights down here.”
“Let’s take Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes out of the equation. If you’re the first prelim of the night, you worked so hard to get there,” White observed. “It’s never going to be perfect, but it has to be close.”
Yet it’s the commission regulating the UFC, not vice-versa. As to what can be done, White answered “work with them. We can work with these guys.” The commission, of course, will have to be willing. And commissions historically have appeared rigid at times.
“First of all, the powers that be in the commission have to recognize that there were mistakes made,” said White. “These things are going to happen, nothing’s perfect, no commission is perfect, no state is perfect. It’s something we have to work on.”