Questionable Scorecard Submitted by Doug Crosby in Stots vs. Sabatello Leads to Review

Raufeon Stots and Danny Sabatello, Bellator 289
Raufeon Stots and Danny Sabatello, Bellator 289 Credit: Bellator MMA

It was not a good weekend for the judges in several high-profile mixed martial arts contests — but one judge stood out from the pack like a sore thumb.

Douglas Crosby happened to work two of the biggest fights in the sport this past weekend, on back-to-back dates on opposite sides of the United States. On Friday, Crosby was in Uncasville, CT for Bellator 289, where he handed in a baffling, wholly unnecessary 50-45 score for Danny Sabatello. Two other judges scored the bout 48-47 for Raufeon Stots, giving him the split decision win.

Somewhere between Friday night and Saturday, Crosby stepped on a plane and flew to Las Vegas, where he was cageside to judge the Paddy Pimblett vs. Jared Gordon fight. Crosby, like two other judges, awarded Pimblett the fight with scores of 29-28, while nearly the entire world watching scored it for Gordon.

Given that two other judges saw things the same, Crosby might have gotten off the hook for that one. But the glaring inconsistency in Douglas Crosby scorecards is nothing new, as he’s been doing it for decades (nor is he a stranger to controversy in general), and the Sabatello scorecard has now triggered a review with the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulations, who oversaw the fight.

“After reviewing the fight, three rounds of the five rounds were extremely close and the other two were marginally close rounds,” Mike Mazzulli, commission director for the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulations, said in a statement to MMA Fighting. “One judge had Sabatello winning all five rounds, which is controversial. But ultimately Stots won the decision, which is the correct result. In an effort to make this a learning moment, I have informed all three judges we will be reviewing the fight together.

“This is a very serious situation. The Mohegan Tribe Athletic Department always looks out for the best interests of all fighters. In the past the Mohegan Tribe Athletic Department has sanctioned officials that are not performing to the level that is required. Such sanctions, when they occur, are not made public.”

At least in the case of Raufeon Stots, the right man won the fight in the end. No thanks to Douglas Crosby. Who set a dubious sort of record on Friday, as the first judge to turn in a dissenting score of 50-45 in the history of MMA Decisions, who track such things.