The “controversy” surrounding the Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan 2 fight that took place at UFC 273 has mostly fizzled out, but a spark provided by referee turned Bellator commentator John McCarthy could reignite things more than a month after the fight took place.
Sterling won the fight via split decision. Judges Sal D’Amato and Eliseo Rodriguez had Sterling winning 48-47, while Christopher Lee had Yan taking things by the same score. The round that Lee disagreed with the other two judges was the first stanza. Lee gave Yan the nod in the round, while D’Amato and Rodriguez had it for Sterling. The win returned the UFC bantamweight title to Sterling.
In the contest’s aftermath, McCarthy sided with Lee.
“I was very impressed with Aljamain and the way he fought, but there’s no way he won that first round,” McCarthy said on the “Weighing In” podcast. “The heavier shots were landed easily by Yan, and I thought it was a smart tactic by Aljamain to stay on the outside, to move continuously, but he didn’t land much. He landed a couple of kicks, not real hard, and he got hit with some heavy shots for a little bit and right near the end, Yan really started landing some good shots.”
In a recent conversation with MMA Junkie Radio, McCarthy said he made a mistake in judging the fight.
“Here’s the first thing, and Aljamain Sterling can hate me, again, I honestly don’t care, but I will tell you, I don’t hate him,” McCarthy said. “I think he’s a phenomenal fighter. I think he’s just a dynamite fighter and he deserves to be where he’s at. But when you take a look at judging of a fight, I did exactly what you should never do, and that’s have friends over, be jaw-jackin’ with them while the fight’s going on, and then think that you saw that fight as you should have. I didn’t.”
“I went back and watched it and said I can definitely see why someone would say Aljamain won that,” McCarthy continued. “If you’re going for volume, you’re gonna go more for Aljamain. If you’re going more for power, you’re gonna go more for Yan, but it’s razor-close. And you know, I was wrong.”
McCarthy’s words need to be heeded by anyone — outside the judges at cageside — who broadcasts what they believe to be the score of a particular round. If one is not paying complete and utter attention to every second of the round, it might be better to not offer an opinion on that round because the odds are, as McCarthy said, you didn’t see that fight as you should have.