The Ultimate Fighting Championship crowned its first ever women’s featherweight champion at UFC 208 in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday, but it wasn’t without controversy.
Germaine de Randamie defeated former bantamweight champion Holly Holm in the fight card’s main event to capture the inaugural belt. The controversy centered on referee Todd Anderson’s decision to not deduct a point from de Randamie for striking Holm after the bell on two occasions during the five-round fight.
Mixed martial arts became legal in New York in March 2016. The New York sanctioned referees and judges don’t have a wealth of experience with MMA, and it showed.
The bell sounded, clearly signifying the end of the second round, after which de Randamie delivered and landed a right hand that staggered Holm. At the conclusion of the third frame, de Randamie threw two punches after the bell. She was not deducted a point for either foul. UFC president Dana White doesn’t think Anderson should have been assigned to referee a main event title bout.
“I feel like the ref from New York shouldn’t be reffing a main event fight. They don’t have enough experience. He should not have been in there. But we don’t make those decisions. The commission does. It was a bad decision by them,” he said backstage following the event.
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“Everybody was blowing me up on the phone. ‘What’s wrong with this ref? What’s wrong with this ref?’ What’s wrong with this ref is he doesn’t have big-fight experience like that. None of these guys do in this state yet, and they should have had one of the experienced MMA refs reffing that main event,” added the UFC president.
Anderson’s decision to not take a point changed the outcome of the fight. Had he done what any seasoned referee would have done, the main event would have ended in a draw with all scorecards readying 47-47. Instead, de Randamie walked away with a victory by a 48-47 unanimous decision.
“If that guy takes a point for hitting after the bell, it’s a draw,” said White.
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