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Man, Isn’t Boxing Corrupt? Anyway, The Judge Who Scored UFC on FOX 7 Main Event for Melendez Runs a Cesar Gracie Affiliate School

(Vierra is standing third from the right in the black gi, next to Cesar Gracie. / Photo via

Following the conclusion of UFC on FOX 7 on Saturday, many die-hard fight fans switched their dials to Showtime to watch the WBA light-middleweight title fight between rising boxing star Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez and Austin Trout. Though Trout arguably won a majority of the early rounds, the fight’s “open-scoring” system revealed that the judges were in the bag for Alvarez from the beginning. When the match was over, the scores came back unanimously for the 22-year-old ginger: 115-112, 116-111 and a completely batshit 118-109 from judge Stanley Christodoulou. As usual, we MMA types used the opportunity to take potshots at boxing’s endemic corruption.

Alright, so get a load of this shit: Late Saturday night, Ben Henderson’s brother pointed out that Wade Vierra — the dissenting judge in Henderson’s split-decision win over Gilbert Melendez — is a “Master Instructor” for the GracieFighter network, and runs a Cesar Gracie affiliate school in Roseville, California. Considering that Melendez is a well-known Cesar Gracie product, the conflict-of-interest alarms should have been ringing for the California State Athletic Commission, and Vierra shouldn’t have been allowed to judge the fight. But the CSAC didn’t catch it, or didn’t care, or hey, maybe they were in on it. Either way, Bendo’s special night was put in jeopardy.

When judging controversies happen in MMA, fans usually chalk it up to ignorance rather than corruption. But when ignorance from MMA judges and commissions is allowed to exist indefinitely, that is corruption — it’s a corruption of the sport’s legitimacy, even if nobody’s directly profiting from it. Obviously, the UFC lightweight title fight was so close that Vierra’s 48-47 tally for Melendez was much more defensible than Christodoulou’s 118-109 for Canelo. Still, the incident gave the UFC event an appearance of commission malfeasance that reflects very poorly on the promotion and the sport in general. (Was somebody paid off to allow Vierra a spot on the judges’ table? Or is the CSAC just that inept?)

It’s a good thing Henderson won. Otherwise, we might have had a scandal on our hands.

Cagepotato Comments

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cman- April 23, 2013 at 11:27 pm
Yup, Cali passed out to many medicinal cards, and paid for em with kick backs.
Wonder if the judge is a 209 fighter ' gym win the judges' coach. 15%, kick back 5% to ceasar the all in one if your that stupid to believe he isn't robbing you, Gracie.
That whole family is corrupt as a . Um, Brazilian?!?
Mr_Misanthropy- April 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm
Breaking news: This just in! CSAC corrupt and or incompetent! Read all about it!

Mind = blown
RwilsonR- April 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm
Who cares whether you think he got it right, or whether it was a close fight so at least he didn't score all rounds for Gil? Cheating in sports is almost always done to make it appear close. Ever hear of point shaving? Anyway, I was really glad when Cesar Gracie's character was killed by Brakus in Best of The Best 2. Travis Brickley sucks!
Pen Fifteen- April 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm
The dude gave Melendez round 4. Did you actually watch round 4?
Nippletwist- April 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm
damn at least one judge got it right tho. Imagine if they tried to call that a unanimous decision??? Imagine how loud the booing would've been then!! The booing was already out of control because it was so obvious melendez won.

It's gonna be dope when Pettis fights Melendez for the title, so we can really see who the best lightweight is. It's probably not gonna be for like another year or something now tho with all this nonsense going on.
Casa de los pantelones- April 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm
Anyone who thinks melendez came anywhere near winning that fight has been hanging out with rosenthal a bit too much.

When the champion, at the end of the fight, barely has a scratch on him and looks as fresh as someone who went for a 5 foot jog, the challenger pretty much did nothing.
danomite- April 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm
Well he was the only one who scored the fight correctly so if that's what corruption gets us I'm all for it.
Fried Taco- April 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm
So are we saying that the judge was smart enough to score it for Melendez, but still make it look like it was a valid decision? Are you sure he's affiliated with Cesar Gracie?
El Guapo- April 22, 2013 at 11:31 am
Kinda torn on this one. One one hand, it's definitely a conflict of interest. But then again had another judge scored it for El Nino wouldn't that have justified the "corrupt" judge's score? Either way it was a good, close fight that deserves a rematch.
As for the boxing, that was shady as fuck! How much more obvious can they get? Golden Boy Promotions has a suspect history when it comes to judges favoring their fighters and this just validates that suspicion. If I was a fighter for a rival promotion no way I'd sign a contract to face a Golden Boy fighter. And considering there are only a few major promoters in boxing... Bad for biz. The best aren't gonna fight the best.
ksgbobo- April 22, 2013 at 10:52 am
Eh...still a conflict of interest in my book. He shouldn't have been one of the judges.
FilmDrunk- April 22, 2013 at 9:28 am
Sketchy or not, he was the only one who scored it right. Also, I thought the Larkin decision was terrible and the Masvidal decision was almost as bad.
algiersheadkick504- April 22, 2013 at 7:59 am
He had the right score tho and it wasn't 50-45 Melendez so fairly judged...and Alvarez won the fight yu can't throw nothing but jabs and win a fight Alvarez defense and head movement was on point and put together better combinations . To the untrained eye trout won..he did throw a Shit load of jabs.
Fried Taco- April 22, 2013 at 7:56 am
Maybe the CSAC has been spending too much time with Josh Rosenthal.
hjdevnull- April 22, 2013 at 7:48 am
It's sketchy, but I'd have a much bigger issue with this if his judging didn't come across as completely fair. It's not like no one else in the world saw it this way.

And my vote is for the CSAC just being that incompetent.