Las Vegas, Nevada — Dana White didn’t have an issue with end result of UFC 259’s main event. Light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz won the fight, and the UFC President didn’t dispute that following the event.
What he did take issue with was the scoring of the main event. In particular, 10-8 scores that were seemingly handed out like candy. Blachowicz won the bout, against middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, with scores of 49–46, 49–45, and 49–45. But many watching had seen the fight even heading into the final frame.
“First of all, I think we can all agree, and I’m not defending Israel Adesanya here, that fight wasn’t 4-1. That’s batsh*t nuts,” White exclaimed backstage at the UFC Apex during the UFC 259 post-fight press conference. “If anybody watched that fight and thinks that fight is 4-1, you’re nuts. It was even going into the last round. And Israel was winning the first half of the round, then Jan took him down and won the fight in the second half of the round.”
“The only thing that makes that fight 4-1 are ridiculous 10-8 rounds,” added White, who called judging in mixed martial arts a “big problem,” one that “needs to be fixed.”
“Scoring is insane. These guys are giving out 10-8 rounds like f*cking— there were two rounds in that fight that they gave a 10-8.
“When I came up in the fight business, a 10-8 was an ass-whupping. You got your ass whupped. You didn’t do sh*t in that round and got beat down if it was a 10-8,” stated White. “They got to stop. This 10-8 shit is out of control right now. So hopefully we can get this fixed. They’re going to screw up a lot fights handing out a 10-8 like that. There was no 10-8 in that fight.”
White’s comments, however, somewhat contradict the Unified Rules of MMA, which have been modified over the years to address 10-8 scores. In particular, the current rule set reads that “A score of 10 – 8 does not require a fighter to dominate their opponent for 5 minutes of a round.”
Instead, a couple other factors apply. For one, “Judges must CONSIDER giving the score of 10 – 8 when a fighter shows dominance in the round even though no impactful scoring against the opponent was achieved.” Dominant positions are explicitly listed in the rules as something judges can take into consideration. Additionally, “If a fighter has little to no offensive output during a 5 minute round, it should be normal for the judge to consider awarding the losing fighter 8 points instead of 9.”
The Unified Rules of MMA were last modified in 2019. But it’s clear that there’s confusion on all sides about how the judging criteria is to be applied — and that’s a problem in itself. One suggestion brought to the UFC President Saturday was the idea of banning inconsistent judges, the way the promotion has ousted certain referees over the years.
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” replied White. “I just think that for some reason, all of a sudden, these guys are scoring 10-8s for rounds that are clearly not 10-8s. How do you address this? What do you think? It’s the criteria they’re giving them right now. I think they’re giving them so bad advice.”
Watch the full UFC 259 post-fight press conference with Dana White above.