Georges St-Pierre retained the welterweight title via split decision against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the controversy is still the major topic two days after the championship fight.
St-Pierre left the cage with the victory with judges Sal D'Amato and Tony Weeks scoring the bout 48-47 in his favor. Glenn Trowbridge was the only judge to score the bout 48-47 in favor of the challenger, and referee Mario Yamasaki, the third man inside the Octagon in UFC 167’s main event, agrees with him.
"I’m inside the cage so I can’t see the fight as the judge sees it, but I thought Hendricks won the fight," Yamasaki told MMAFighting.com. "I thought Hendricks dominated the fight, it was brutal, and I was surprised when they gave St-Pierre the win. But I’m not the judge. I look at the fight with different eyes."
Yamasaki scored the fifth round in favor of St-Pierre, and that was it.
"The first round was slow and could have gone either way. Hendricks dominated the second one. The third was close and could also go either way, and the judges gave it to St-Pierre. When the fight was over, I thought Hendricks won every round except the last one," he said. "But I have to watch the fight again to analyze it as a judge."
UFC president Dana White criticized Keith Kizer and the Nevada State Athletic Commission following the post-fight press conference. Yamasaki doesn’t believe White is in a position to criticize the NSAC, but agrees that they need to change the way they prepare the judges.
"As a promoter, (Dana White) can say anything he wants," he said. "He has never done a judging course, so he analyzes the fight as a fan.
"But (NSAC) needs to do only one judging course to set one criteria on how to analyze a fight. Every referee does his course, so they teach their way to judge a fight."
The judges weren’t the only ones to receive criticism after the five-round battle in Las Vegas. Yamasaki, who stopped the action in the second round so Hendricks could put his mouthpiece back in immediately after the challenger rocked St-Pierre, was questioned for his actions.
"The rules say that when the mouthpiece falls and the action continues, I can't stop the fight," he said. "Hendricks kept pressuring, but then they started working in the clinch, so I stopped it. I wouldn't have stopped the fight if he kept punching. I'm there to protect the athlete. There's no reason why I would let him hurt his mouth."