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Vancouver Athletic Commission Exec Addresses UFC 131 Judging Criticism

UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin delivered a wealth of exciting fights with varied finishes, many of which had significant impact on the divisions where they took place. In short, UFC 131 was a very solid card.

Unfortunately, the memory of the fight card will likely be marred by the sketchy judge’s scores that were present in many of the fights. In particular, a featherweight contest between Michihiro Omigawa and Darren Elkins which was ruled unanimously in Elkins’ favor sticks out as a blatantly poor call by the judges, especially the one judge who scored every round 10-9 for Elkins.

As a result of the outcry against judges’ performances at UFC 131 (the loudest of which unsurprisingly came form UFC president Dana White), Vancouver Athletic Commission Correspondance Officer Jonathan Tweedale spoke with specifically on the Omigawa-Elkins decision.

“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,” said Tweedale. “An argument can be made in favour 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.”

Omigawa was awarded his win bonus by the UFC despite officially being defeated, so the Japanese veteran did receive some vindication.

UFC 131 went down at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.