Judging has been a very big topic of discussion in the MMA world as of late, and the main event of UFC Auckland, which pitted Paul Felder against Dan Hooker, brought more to that conversation.
After Hooker and Felder engaged in a very close fight, the judges gave the victory to Hooker by way of split decision — but not everyone agreed with that verdict.
Felder’s coach Duke Roufus spoke up on the matter during an interview on the Luke Thomas Show.
“I don’t have much confidence anymore in judges,” Roufus said of this Felder vs. Hooker decision. “All these kids, when things don’t go well for them and they have a bad performance, they’re expected to go to the press conference and give all their answers, all their reasons. Guys like you call me up after a fight and good, bad, or indifferent, I answer your questions as painfully as they are sometimes when we crap the bed as a team. Whereas all the referees and judges they get to vanish into thin air.
“I’ll give you an example, in Israel last year, Emmanuel Sanchez vs. ‘Pitbull’ [Patricio Freire], all three judges scored the third round for Pitbull and I asked them ‘do takedowns matter in the unified rules of MMA?’ and they said no they don’t. Then I said ‘why did all three of you judges score that round for Pitbull?’ They said ‘well the takedown at the end of the round.’ So I go ‘you just said that takedowns don’t matter’ — especially that one. He took Manny down and held onto him for 30 seconds at the end of the round where Manny had out-struck him that entire round and there was no wrestling or grappling the rest of the round. One of the judges was gracious enough to at least listen to my opinion, the other two judges got upset with me and they told me they don’t need to listen to my shit and they took off. So, that’s the problem with judging here, my friends.”
When asked about what possibly could be changed about judging in MMA, Roufus offered up a few possible solutions to the problem.
“We’ve got to make a better stance on this,” the long-time Paul Felder coach said. “One, I think there should be five judges. Two, I think there should be up-to-the-year updating. Three, judges: don’t be fans of the sport, be students of the sport. That’s the problem with judging. When judges make mistakes, they get to home with the same paycheck. Paul Felder lost $82,000 because of the judges. That’s a considerable income. Do I think he’s worth more? For sure, but at the end of day, that’s $82,000. That’s a lot of milk money.”
What do you think of these comments from Duke Roufus after last weekend’s controversial Paul Felder vs. Dan Hooker fight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/26/2020.