26 Aug 2014 08:06:23 AM
(Poor Dana. He has his good days and his bad days. / Photo via MMA in Asia)
A strange and unprecedented thing happened during the UFC Fight Night 48: Bisping vs. Le prelims on Saturday. After the first two fights ended in split-decisions, UFC president Dana White grabbed veteran judge Howard Hughes and told him to get lost:
“He was involved in the first fight and the second fight,” White said. “I told the guys to go let him grab some beer and some popcorn and go sit down and start watching some fights, not judging them.”
To clarify, Hughes was only singled out because he worked both fights, not because his scorecards were significantly worse than anybody else’s. In the opening bout between Milana Dudieva and Elizabeth Phillips, Hughes was one of the two judges to score it for Dudieva — a result that White said he actually agreed with — and in the next bout between Royston Wee and Yao Zhikui, Hughes was one of the two judges to score it for Wee. White did not agree with that decision, and it sent the UFC prez into “a pretty bad meltdown.”
While it’s kind of refreshing to see a bad judge get pulled off the mound like a nervous pitcher, the incident prompted a storm of criticism from MMA journalists including Kevin Iole and Ben Fowlkes, who felt it was a tremendous conflict of interest for a UFC executive to remove a judge when he doesn’t agree with the results — especially in locales without athletic commissions, where the UFC arranges virtually all of the officiating itself.
The UFC brass must have come to the same conclusion, because the following statement was just published on UFC.com:Read More DIGG THIS