Source: USA TODAY
The head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission remains confident in the performance of his fight judges despite another controversy involving scoring at UFC 167.
In the headliner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 20th anniversary event, judges Tony Weeks and Sal D’Amato handed down scores of 48-47 in favor of Georges St-Pierre, who retained his welterweight title against Johny Hendricks. A third judge, Glenn Trowbridge, saw the fight as 48-47 for Hendricks.
The commission immediately faced criticism from fans, fighters and the media, who thought the officials had gotten the call wrong. Among the sternest critics was UFC President Dana White, who said the regulatory body “used to be the best commission in the world,” and said the scores were “100 percent incompetence.”
At the post-event news conference, White called for Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to intervene and said he is scared to promote future fights in Las Vegas, where the promotion is based.
Keith Kizer, who heads the influential athletic commission, said the fiery UFC executive “can say what he wants at the press conference.” Kizer ventured that the uproar boils down to a difference of opinion about who won the fight’s first round, on which judges disagreed, and the weight of White’s comments.
“The last four rounds were scored unanimously,” Kizer told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. “The first could have gone either way, as most people thought it could have gone either way, regardless of how they scored it. It’s more about Dana’s comments than anything else, not about the scoring.”
Despite calls for change among fans and media, the commission head said he’s received few inquiries about the fight. However, those still aggrieved at the decision have the opportunity to make suggestions on Nevada regulations at a workshop planned for Dec. 2 at the commission’s headquarters in Las Vegas. Kizer said he couldn’t remember any attendees at a previous workshop.
Former NSAC head Marc Ratner, now a chief liaison between the UFC and athletic commissions, said a UFC representative will be there, but did not say whether changes will be proposed.
In the wake of September’s boxing controversy over scoring in Floyd Mayweather’s decision win against Canelo Alvarez, C.J. Ross resigned as an NSAC judge after 20-plus years on the job. Kizer defended Ross’ scorecard — she had the fight scored a draw in what appeared to be a one-sided fight — and said disciplinary action wasn’t necessary, though now-former NSAC commissioner Bill Brady issued an apology to Sandoval.
A fired-up White hinted that the UFC might curtail its event schedule in Nevada, despite the fact that the promotion is based in Las Vegas, which is known as “the fight capital of the world.”
“I’m scared to come back here and do fights,” White said. “I’m afraid of this state.”
Asked whether such a statement is cause for concern with the commission, Kizer said, “Not to me.”