Virginia Beach, VA — Megan Anderson is not about to get caught up in talk of title shots and who’s next. The towering Australian featherweight made that clear at the UFC Norfolk media day. What did get her fired up? Seeing her coach, James Krause, robbed of a win by shady judging just weeks ago.
Anderson fights octagon newcomer Norma Dumont in Norfolk this Saturday. On the title fight front, it had been suggested throughout the day that UFC Norfolk felt like a featherweight contender audition. Anderson and Felicia Spencer, the two biggest names in the weight class outside of Amanda Nunes, are both in action.
That doesn’t matter to Anderson, she told media outlets including Cageside Press on Thursday. “To be honest, I don’t really care. I think a lot of people are putting so much stock into ‘who’s next, who’s next?’ You know what? My mind is solely focused on February 29, because everything else doesn’t matter unless I get my hand raised.”
Anderson explained that instead, she is putting all her attention and energy into “putting on an amazing performance, and showcasing my evolution in this sport.”
That said, she’s happy to see the women’s featherweights finally get some attention, with two big fights on the UFC Norfolk card. “I try to promote this division as much as I can, considering there aren’t a lot of women in the featherweight division in the UFC, and this will be my fifth fight in, I think, just under two years.”
What does get Anderson fired up is talk of judging in MMA, which became a huge issue at the recent UFC 247 card. Of course, there was Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes, with fans baffled to see one judge score the fight four rounds to one for Jones. But that same judge, Joe Soliz, came under fire again when it was learned he had a personal connection to Trevin Giles. It just so happens that Giles was awarded a split decision win over Anderson’s coach James Krause at that very same event. Krause had accepted the fight on 24 hours notice.
The Jones fight brought about talk of open scoring — something that the Kansas athletic commission will introduce next month, starting with Invicta FC’s Phoenix Series III. Coincidentally, Anderson will make her debut on commentary at that show.
“I’m really excited. I’d spoken to Shannon [Knapp, Invicta FC President] about it, weirdly enough that day,” she recalled. “Then UFC 247 happened. Everyone was talking about it. I think as a competitor, I would want to know. If we’re going into the third round, if it’s a three round fight, and it’s super close, I would want to know. Because I’m like, if I need to go, go all out, go for a Hail Mary in these five minutes, I would want to know. But I know everybody’s different.”
Coaches, she pointed out, also give fighters an idea of where they stand. But that is only one part of the problem. The Krause-Giles issue, and how judges are even selected, is another.
“The problem is, is the rules aren’t going to change. The fact that each state has a different rule set is exactly why it isn’t going to change,” Anderson suggested. “Because there is no one governing body that controls everything. Or not really controls, but monitors everything. But there definitely needs to be background checks on judges, because that sh*t shouldn’t happen. You would never, in any other sport, in the Olympics or whatever, you would never let somebody who has some form of a relationship [with an athlete] judge a competition at that level, if they have some form of tie or relationship, even in the past, with that person. Because you just never know.”
“You want judging or scoring in any sport to be as unbiased as possible,” Anderson concluded. “So that sh*t should never have happened. I personally think it should be turned to a No Contest.”
Watch the full UFC Norfolk media day press scrum with Megan Anderson above! The event takes place Saturday, February 29 at the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.