Vancouver Athletic Commission Responds to Omigawa vs. Elkins Controversy

Written by Tom Ngo
June 14th, 2011

UFC Heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Once again, another mixed martial arts show was marred in controversy courtesy of the three judges sitting just inches away from the live action. While there were plenty of dubious decisions rendered this past Saturday at “UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin,” the featherweight scrap between Michihiro Omigawa and Darren Elkins has received the most attention.

That’s likely due to the fact UFC president Dana White blasted the officials for their incompetence during the post-fight press conference and independently awarded Omigawa the victory, despite the lopsided (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) unanimous decision win the judges awarded Elkins.

“Something has to be done about the judging, it’s so bad. Not only does it affect people’s lives, it ruins everything for people that are watching,” White matter-of-factly stated. “You watch it and you’re like ‘What? 30-27? What fight were you watching?’

“We’re going to pay [Omigawa] his win money. I don’t care what the judges said, he won the fight. I say he won. Overruled.”

Tuesday, Jonathan Tweedale from the Vancouver Athletic Commission responded to the controversy and did his best to justify the judges’ scorecards.

Here is what Tweedale told NBCSports:

“In the first round, Elkins backed Omigawa up with punches the entire round. He controlled the center of the cage. He was throwing a lot more shots, and landing more — and in combination. If there is any controversy as to the outcome of the fight it must be because of the second round. That was a very challenging round to score. An argument can be made in favor of either fighter. Elkins landed more punches.

“At one point, when Omigawa came forward, he was stopped dead in his tracks by Elkins’ combination punches, and at another point he was slightly buckled. Due to Omigawa’s unusual stance and balance, it was difficult to tell exactly whether he was rocked by some of these shots. However, you could see Omigawa’s leg bend, and the control shift to Elkins as he landed the combo, stopping Omigawa in his tracks, taking the center of the cage, and going on the attack again. These sequences, as well as the total effective strikes landed, could reasonably warrant awarding the round to Elkins. Elkins didn’t land many more than Omigawa, but he did land more. (The Fightmetric numbers agree.) As to the blood – it represents something, but a cut can be caused by a glancing blow and some fighters just cut more readily than others.

“That’s a round about which reasonable people can disagree. Close rounds like Round 2 of Omigawa vs Elkins serve as useful examples for discussion, to assist in refining and evolving the community’s understanding of the scoring criteria, generally. And that is a good thing for the sport.”

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