At UFC 247, long-time UFC light heavyweight contender Ilir Latifi moved up to the heavyweight division to battle Derrick Lewis.
While Latifi put up a good fight, he ultimately lost a decision to the hometown hero.
He feels the judges got it wrong.
“To be honest, I know I was on his home turf,” Latifi told MMA Fighting. “I’m coming from Sweden. I’m coming to the U.S. I’m coming to Houston. I’m fighting the hometown pride, Derrick Lewis, who is one of the most favorite fighters in the UFC. I like him, too. He’s funny as hell. He’s humble. Nothing to take from that but I knew that I wasn’t fighting just Derrick.
“I was fighting the judges. I was fighting everybody in that arena that night. When I came there, I knew what it was. When the fight was over, you saw Derrick’s face. He knew that he lost that fight.”
Latifi continued, explaining why he believes he won the contest.
“If you see it this way, I controlled my opponent for 15 minutes,” he said. “I practically put him in the situation I wanted. I put him against the cage. I was grinding him and making him tired, taking out those power shots. I took him down.
“He threw some fancy knees and some kicks but I blocked everything and I saw everything. I felt very, very comfortable. He didn’t catch me with nothing. It was maybe one punch but I saw everything. I blocked it and I took it with no problem. Not taking credit from Derrick, for being such a heavy guy, doing that stuff is impressive but I think I had total control of the fight. To be honest, I controlled a 270-pound opponent with ease. Most people can’t control their puppy dog for like a minute. That’s the truth. You maybe don’t like it, but that’s what I did.”
Ilir Latifi isn’t the only fighter who felt like he was let down by the judges at UFC 247. Several other fighters, including Dominick Reyes, who lost to Jon Jones in the main event, felt the judges got their decisions wrong
Latifi believes judges who err in this way should be punished.
“I wasn’t shocked that they robbed me,” Latifi said. “It’s so sad to see that they do that. Because this is the future of the sport. They’re playing around with athletes, fighters’ lives that put everything on the line. We sacrifice so much. We sacrifice our health. We leave our families. We do so much and to leave that in the hands of the judges or a commission that doesn’t understand the sport or favors somebody, that’s wrong. There should be consequences for that, too.
“When fighters do wrong or they break the rules, they get punished for that. But when judges do wrong or rob people from their fights, there’s no consequences for that. It’s bad. It affects the fighters. People can say ‘on to the next one, you did a great fight’ but in a way f*ck that. I did everything for that fight,” Latifi added. “I came in as a big underdog. I think honestly the judges and everybody there didn’t think I’d last a minute and I came in and dominated him. It wasn’t maybe the way they thought but that’s the truth.
“Bad judgment or judges who were sleeping at the fight or they just want to mess with the scores or favor him, they f*ck with people’s paychecks,” Latifi concluded. “That’s 50 percent of what you get paid. It’s not a game. It’s so bad.”
What do you think of these comments from Ilir Latifi?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/14/2020.