Leading up to UFC 166, I jokingly mentioned my fear of the Texas judges mangling Diego Sanchez/Gilbert Melendez based on Sanchez's prior history of fortunate decision wins plus the state's historical ineptitude (whether through judging, officiating, drug testing, etc.) in the world of combat sports. Thankfully, Melendez/Sanchez was correctly scored for Melendez, but the inevitable perplexing set of scorecards was delivered earlier in the evening.
C.B. Dollaway put forth one of his best showings against Tim Boetsch, out-striking the top 10 ranked middleweight and generally avoiding the dangerous clinch game of "The Barbarian". Dollaway also used his wrestling abilities to take Boetsch down three times and advance position on four separate occasions. He could've done without the taunting of Boetsch throughout the fight, but to me it was pretty clear that he was up 2-0 heading into round 3. The final round saw Dollaway twice poke Boetsch in the eye, and the second instance led to a rightful point deduction. Round 3 was the closest of the fight (in my opinion), and at worst for Dollaway he should've walked away with a 28-28 draw, and at best a 29-27 victory.
Judges Jon Schorle and Ruben Najera not only gave Boetsch the win, but they inexplicably gave Boetsch every round en route to two 30-26 verdicts. Gino Garcia scored it 29-27 Dollaway, which means that sans point deduction, we would've had an instance of three 30-27s for two different fighters, which is completely absurd within the context of how this fight played out. FightMetric numbers suggest that there's no way you can argue 30-26 for Boetsch, and 29-27 Boetsch isn't exactly a great scorecard either.
Najera was also the only judge to score round 3 of Sarah Kaufman/Jessica Eye for Eye, which proved to be the sole reason that Eye defeated Kaufman by split decision. This was his first UFC show and frankly, I see no reason for him to get a second one.
But I want to focus the bulk of the criticism on Jon Schorle. He is one of the most consistently incompetent figures combat sports has ever seen. In 2006, Clay Guida fought Gilbert Melendez for Guida's Strikeforce lightweight title. Melendez stuffed 19 of Guida's 26 takedown attempts, and even when Melendez was taken down, Guida offered up no offense. Gilbert took Guida down 5 times out of 8, and also comfortably beat up Guida in the stand-up department. Two judges scored the fight 50-45 for Melendez, but Schorle turned in a 48-46 Guida win, which, given that there were no point deductions, means that Schorle likely scored a 10-8 round for Melendez and the remaining 4 rounds for Guida.
Schorle has not only shown to be unsuitable for judging, but as a referee. The absolute worst example of Schorle's shortcomings as a ref came in 2006, when Olaf Alfonso fought Rob McCullough in the WEC. "Razor" Rob uncorked a wicked right hand that sent Alfonso's mouthpiece flying. Schorle somehow saw it fit to first retrieve the mouthpiece and then stop the bout. Of course, with the referee not actually paying attention to the downed fighter, McCollough landed a few more brutal punches to send Alfonso to sleep.
In Schorle's defense, he's only permitted to work these events (both in boxing and MMA) for as long as the California and Texas athletic commissions license him to do so. It is quite clear that Schorle is a poor judge and an even worse referee, and while it is his job to fulfill his duties as competently and efficiently as he can, the onus should be on the commissions to not allow the likes of Schorle or Najera to have a larger influence on fights than the fighters themselves. Last night was completely unacceptable from both men, and I sincerely hope that neither of them are working future UFC shows in Texas.
SBN coverage of UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos III
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- UFC 166 results: Gilbert Melendez vs Diego Sanchez wasn't FOTN, but a failure in officiating
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