There was some shaky judging at UFC 251 and one set of scores may have cost Max Holloway a world title.
In Saturday’s co-main event, “Blessed” attempted to regain the featherweight belt that he lost to Alexander Volkanovski last December, but again fell short in the judges’ eyes, this time losing a five-round split decision. It was one of several close calls on the night, of which any could have gone the other way had a few key sequences been viewed differently by the judges.
White was asked if he felt Holloway did enough to win his rematch against Volkanovski and while he didn’t answer the question directly, he made clear his feelings on the quality of the UFC 251 judging.
“Listen, man, you can’t leave it to these guys,” White said. “We’ve got some bad judging. We’ve got some bad judging and—I don’t know, has Max been in here yet? I’m sure he’s devastated.”
Holloway appeared to fare better in this second outing with Volkanovski than his first, winning rounds one and two on all three scorecards; however, all the judges gave rounds three and four to Volkanovski, leaving the fifth and final round to be the decider.
In the end, Holloway was only earned one 48-47 score, with the other two going towards Volkanovski.
Since White leaned towards a Holloway win, he was asked if it’s possible that he’d want to run Volkanovski vs. Holloway back one more time, despite the series technically being 2-0 in Volkanovski’s favor. At that, White polled the attending media members to answer the question with a question.
“Did anybody in here score it for Volkanovski?” White asked. “Anybody have it for Volkanovski? Nobody in the media? I don’t know, we’ll have to figure it out.”
With a few question marks on the evening’s scorecards and a bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo seemingly ending with a late stoppage, White admitted that they may need to make some changes going forward with the other three “Fight Island” shows this month.
“Looks like we’ve got to tighten up our refs and judges here on ‘Fight Island,’” White said.