Even the UFC president is subject to penalty from the world's leading mixed martial arts promotion.
The UFC announced on its website Tuesday that UFC President Dana White was found to be in breach of the UFC's own regulatory protocol after White removed judge Howard Hughes from further officiating on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 48 (UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Le) in Macau, China. While at the time White did not name the judge who was removed, White said at that event's post-fight press conference he found Hughes' scorecards intolerable and acted to remove him.
According to the UFC's statement, White does not have the authority to make such a call pursuant to existing UFC regulatory policy. In many international territories including China, UFC is required to self-regulate due to the absence of any governing body over the sport.
In addition, the UFC statement says Hughes has tenure as a judge of UFC cards and can be expected to return as a judge at future UFC events.
It's not clear if any penalty was issued to White for his infraction.
The full statement from UFC.com is as follows:
"After an internal review, the UFC organization announced today that a breach of its independent regulatory protocol occurred on Saturday night during UFC FIGHT NIGHT MACAO.
After the second fight of the night, UFC President Dana White requested that Howard Hughes, one of the event's five assigned judges, be removed from working any further bouts. Pursuant to UFC's protocol, neither White nor any other UFC executive possesses such authority. Nevertheless, protocol was breached and Hughes did not work further bouts on Saturday night.
The UFC organization has always been in support of government regulation and oversight. Additionally, the UFC has established a protocol when required to self-regulate events due to the lack of an official athletic commission, federation or other regulatory body. In those instances where UFC holds events in locations without a regulatory body, the UFC's protocol dictates that the organization's internal regulators will handle all commission functions independently and without interference by company executives or employees.
The UFC remains committed to maintaining the strictest regulatory environment for competition and vows that no similar breach of protocol will happen again.
Both White and the UFC apologize to Mr. Hughes for calling his professional judgment into question. Hughes has judged more than 25 UFC fight cards and the UFC looks forward to him working on its events again in the future."