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I didn’t know what I was watching - Daniel Cormier sounds off on UFC Vegas 55 judging

Daniel Cormier gives his take on the disputed decisions at UFC Vegas 55 over the weekend.

Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan at the broadcast table at UFC 255 in November 2020.
Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan at the broadcast table at UFC 255 in November 2020.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC Vegas 55 was riddled with a few questionable decisions. The main event alone between Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira was highly disputed, and there is now a narrative that the former champion was robbed of a victory.

Former double champion and soon-to-be UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier was at the broadcast booth that night, and he, too, was left befuddled by what happened. In a recent video he uploaded, “DC” admitted his lack of understanding of what he saw that night.

“Guys, this is where I don’t really understand what I’m watching in terms of the fight. Anders fight, Holm fight, both had so much control time against the side of the Octagon, that I don’t know how they are losing the fight,” Cormier said.

To further prove his point, Cormier brought up the UFC 251 title fight between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal in 2020.

“I think probably the most famous incident in which that happened was Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal, the first fight. If there is no value in clinch control, then how did Kamaru win that fight so dominantly the first time he fought Masvidal?

“I’m not saying dominant in terms of damage. I’m talking about so dominantly across the scorecards because very few judges scored the round for Jorge Masvidal outside of round number one,” he explained.

“What they did was give value and give credit to Kamaru Usman for putting Jorge Masvidal in a position that he did not want to go to for extended periods of time.”

If anything, Cormier sees it as a win for Holm for disrupting what he believed was Vieira’s game plan.

“That is where I think the judging gets f—ked up a little bit. Ketlen Vieira does not want to be against the side of the Octagon being held by Holly Holm. Regardless of what you think in terms of the damage, she doesn’t want to be there.

“If she had her choice, she would either have Holly Holm against the side of the fence or she would be out in the center, striking. But instead, she’s controlled for more than ten minutes. And I think Andre Pederneiras’ reactions show what he thought or how he thought the fight was playing out.

“Once again, it’s on the judges. Once again, they keep on making these mistakes, I would think. Or, we just don’t know what the hell we’re watching.”

Cormier also mentioned how the conversations around judging affect how they call fights.

“My job is not to tell you who’s winning the round. My job is to tell you how does a fighter get from point A to point B, how did they do this and the other,” he said.

“How do you manage what goes on inside of that Octagon? From Fighter One’s perspective to Fighter Two’s perspective. How does Fighter One get his hand raised? What does Fighter Two need to do in order to not allow that to happen? And vice versa.

“But because the judges have become such a major topic of conversation, now we are spending time discussing that because we are so unsure about what it’s gonna look like at the end of the fight.

“Last night was probably the most clear instance in which I felt like I did not know what I’m watching, I guess. Because I was on the wrong side of two fights that I thought we’re going one direction and didn’t.”

Ultimately, it was Vieira who was awarded the split decision win over Holm, marking her second consecutive victory against a former champion.