UFC 247 was filled with great moments on Saturday night, but it was also mired in controversy when it came to the judging and the scoring of a handful of fights in Houston. One of the fights that many feel was controversial upon completion was the fight between Andrea Lee and Lauren Murphy.
The women’s flyweight bout took place during the ESPN preliminary card on Saturday night and was ultimately scored for Murphy via split decision. Judge Patrick Patlin scored the bout 29-28 for Lee. Chris Lee scored it the same for Murphy, while the third judge, Danny Dealejandro, scored it 30-27 for Murphy.
While the battle of attrition between Murphy and Lee was close — and should hardly be considered a robbery — many people feel that Lee should’ve gotten her hand raised. In fact, MMA Decisions surveyed a dozen media members who all scored it for Lee. As far as the fans go who scored it on the site, 92 percent of the 137 submitted scorecards felt Lee had done enough to win.
In addition, UFC commentators Joe Rogan and Dominick Cruz called out a judge for not watching the fight and looking down at the floor during the very pivotal final round. The Texas athletic commission has since responded to the claims.
With all of that in play, Andrea Lee confirmed with BJPENN.com that she plans to appeal the decision.
“We definitely plan on doing something,” Lee told BJPENN.com Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t know what is going to happen, the only thing that could happen is that it could be considered a no contest. I just think that it’s only fair that you have three judges that are there to watch the fight. They should be watching the entire fight, not just parts of it because there’s a lot that you can miss.”
The fight between two of the top-10 women’s 125-pounders in the UFC delivered in terms of entertainment. Lee was happy with her performance overall and felt she left everything in the Octagon Saturday night. The fact that Rogan and Cruz mentioned the potential lack of attention paid to the matchup, along with how the fight ended up being scored overall, left a bit of bad taste in Lee’s mouth.
“As many times as the commentators mentioned that the judge wasn’t watching the fight, there was a lot going on in that round,” Lee said. “That was the majority of the round and you’re going to go ahead and score it like you watched the fight. You weren’t really watching it, you know. I think it’s disrespectful that there’s other judges that would’ve loved to have had the opportunity to sit cage side and watch those fights on Saturday. They would’ve loved to watch every single fight. It’s a big opportunity. You’re getting the best seat in the house and if you’re there to do a job, you should do it. I was there to do a job, I did my job. I just needed it to be judged properly, and so do the other fighters because there was some iffy calls that night.”
After watching UFC 247 in its entirety, many fans, media members and fighters alike are in agreement that something needs to be done to change the judging and scoring in the sport.
The reason Andrea Lee has decided to appeal the decision has more to do with invoking change and calling attention to the apparent hole that the recent judging has caused in MMA, not specifically because of the loss itself.
The 31-year-old Louisiana native even took to social media to see if anybody had any video or pictures of the judge in question looking downward or not paying attention to the fight to help her case.
Lee also has her own ideas about how to make the judging better without implementing any major changes.
“It’s not even just the footage, it’s also that I have two witnesses that are stating multiple times throughout the fight that they were sitting there looking at the judge and he wasn’t even watching the fight,” Lee explained. “That’s enough evidence alone. I’m not going to really get my hopes up on this to be overturned, but I think just shedding a whole lot of light on the subject is really important because this happens all the time. It’s not just this fight card, it’s not just the UFC, it’s other promotions as well. The system just needs to be a little better.
“My idea is, if the judges are going to be bored watching all night, have another three judges come in for each part of the fight card,” Lee added. “So have three judges for the first prelims, another three judges for the second prelims, and get another three for the main card. That way, you’re not bored, you’re not staring into space, you’re not looking at your phone. You judge for a couple of hours and then you’re free to go.”
There’s one thing Lee wants to make perfectly clear: she isn’t making any excuses, nor is she discrediting the gameplan and gritty performance of her counterpart on Saturday night. Taking the scoring and the controversy out of the equation, Lee feels that the three round war was everything the combatants, as well as the fans, could’ve hoped for.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Lauren Murphy,” Lee said. “She went out there, she put her heart on the line and she fought a tough, tough fight. She wanted a war, we got a war. It was exciting and I think, even though the fans — and a lot of them are upset about the call — I think that everybody still got what they wanted. It was an exciting fight. It was back and forth. Like I said, I don’t want to take anything away from her, but I wanted it to be more fairly judged.”
After winning her first three UFC fights, Andrea Lee is on the first losing streak of her career. On Saturday night, and even since then, Lee feels like she can look at herself in the mirror, be proud of her performance in the Octagon, and know that in her heart of hearts, she beat Lauren Murphy on Saturday night despite how two judges viewed it.
“I felt great. I really thought it was gonna go my way,” Lee explained. “I thought that I had done enough, you know. I know she got those takedowns, but at the same time I was able to get back up. I know how judges are and they do score takedowns super high, especially if they think that the rounds were close. I just feel like she just boxed me the entire time. She boxed me, shot a takedown and got the takedown. I just feel like I mixed everything up so much better and I did more damage the whole fight.
“I was surprised by the decision, but there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s what happens when you leave it in the hands of the judges,” Lee continued. “I just have to do better next time. I have to try to get a finish. That’s what I got to do next time. I wanted a finish this time. I wanted to finish her, I wanted to hurt her to the body, I wanted to finish the fight that way. I knew she could take a lot of punches, she took everything in the head, but I knew going to the body I was hurting her. I felt like if could land the right one it would put her down. She’s tough.
“I definitely didn’t feel like I lost every round.”
What did you think of the scoring for the Andrea Lee vs. Lauren Murphy fight at UFC 247?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/12/2020.