Over last weekend, 2 similar controversies occurred. No we’re not talking about fans bitching that Nick Diaz lost and of course Nick Diaz bitching that Nick Diaz lost, we’re talking about the controversies involving point deductions during 2 MMA events that were held in 2 different continents.
The first occurred at UFC 143 (yes, the event where Nick Diaz lost) between Alex Caceres, aka Bruce Leroy, and Edwin Figueroa. In a match that saw Caceres getting the better of Figueroa, the outcome was completely altered when Caceres had 2 points deducted from him by referee Herb Dean after a second low blow to Figueroa. Even though Caceres seem to have won the fight, the 2 point deduction was too much for him to overcome and he lost via decision with the judges score cards showing 28-27, 27-28 and 28-27 in favor of Figueroa. If there hadn’t been a 2 point deduction, Caceres would have won with a score of 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27. Many felt that the penalty was too harsh especially considering that the 2 points were deducted after just one warning from the referee.
The other point deducting hoopla occurred at Road FC in Seoul, Korea during the first match in Road’s bantamweight tournament. The match was between one of Korea’s top bantamweights, Kyung Ho Kang and American standout, Andrew Leone. Kyung had 3 points deducted from him even before the match could start because he failed to make weight the day before. He came in 3kg over and on top of the point deduction, he had to give up 20% of his purse to Leone. Many saw this as a very harsh penalty as it was rare seeing a fighter have 3 points deducted for not making weight. In normal practice, the fighter who doesn’t make weight merely has to give up a percentage of his purse to his opponent, win, lose or draw.
Needless to say, both situations caused a rumble in their respective MMA territories. In fact UFC President Dana White commented that he was surprised that 2 points had been deducted from Caceres but was told by Lorenzo Fertitta, who has extensive experience in rules and regulations reassured him it was normal. Still, the 2 points caused quite a stir and Caceres is appealing against the loss. Over in Asia, a similar controversy surrounded the outcome of the Leone/ Kyung match with many people criticizing the decision and the 3 points deduction. Many seemed to imply the Leone did not deserve to win the match.
It’s extremely unfortunate that both Kyung and Caceres had succumb to defeat due to rules made by their respective athletic commissions. However, rules are rules and no matter what it is, they’re meant to be followed. At the end of the day, Figueroa did not want to get kicked in the groin twice and Andrew Leone never intended to face an opponent who wouldn’t make weight. In fact, for Leone in particular, it was a bigger challenge as we’ve been told that Kyung stepped into the cage 7kg heavier than American. You also have to note that Leone is not a bantamweight but a flyweight. It was a very tough spot for him to be in.
So while people can say what they want to say, no one should take away the effort put in by both Figueroa and Leone. They both stepped into the cage and gave it their all and unlike their respective opponents, the didn’t fall prey to “horrid” point deductions because, to simply put it, they stuck by the rules.