Saturday night wasn’t the first time that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has come out on the winning side of some controversial judging. With only one DQ loss to his resume, Jones has, in point of fact, always been the man to get his hand raised when the scorecards need to be read—even if those scores didn’t necessarily match up with what fans saw in the cage.
As recently as July of 2019, Jones walked away with a controversial split decision win over Thiago Santos. It was a bout many thought the Brazilian won, even while fighting on a badly damaged knee. But, the Jackson-Wink trained fighters’ most recent victory – over Dominick Reyes, by unanimous decision – garnered even more instant backlash against suspect cageside officiating.
More than that, though, the Reyes decision has also created a fascinating and strange connection to one of Jones’ other earlier controversial wins: his 2013 unanimous decision over Alexander Gustafsson.
MMA reporter Shaheen Al-Shatti picked up on the remarkable coincidence, that Jones vs. Gustfasson I ended with the exact same judges scorecards as Jones vs. Reyes, and posted the evidence on Twitter:
Absolutely bizarre coincidence: Jones vs. Reyes and Jones vs. Gustafsson 1 were scored exactly the same.— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) February 10, 2020
Everything from the final scores down to the individual rounds were scored the exact same. Wild. #UFC247 pic.twitter.com/0nP9cWMcle
In both fights, Jones was awarded the unanimous decision with two cards giving him the win 48-47, with the remaining card scored 49-46 in his favor. Beyond the totals, however, in each fight one judge awarded Jones rounds 3, 4, & 5; one judge awarded Jones rounds 2, 4, & 5; and one judge awarded Jones rounds 2, 3, 4, & 5. Remarkably, judge Chris Lee was on the job for both events—turning in the 2, 3, 4, & 5 scorecard for Jones vs. Gustafsson, and the 3, 4, & 5 scorecard for Jones vs. Reyes.
Could there be some grand judging conspiracy to keep the belt around Jon Jones’ waist? Have we cracked the secret code? Is judge Chris Lee an agent of the Illuminati?
Probably not. But, this was pretty weird.