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Dana White apologizes for UFC Macau judging controversy: ‘I was wrong'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC President Dana White apologized on Tuesday for the breach of protocol that resulted in the removal of judge Howard Hughes from subsequent officiating at UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau, China, a decision which ultimately drew criticism as a conflict of interest in regards to a promoter directly affecting the outcome of his organization's fights.

"It's no secret how fired up I get when there's bad judging. But I have to apologize the judge Hughes," White told reporters in Mexico City.

"I did get some misinformation. He didn't score the second fight (Royston Wee vs. Yao Zhikui) 30-27 for the fighter from China. And yeah, I got a little crazy and I overstepped my bounds. It's not the first time, and hopefully it's the last time I'll ever do that. So yeah, I was wrong."

White personally relived Hughes of his duties following the back-to-back split decisions that began the event on Saturday. In both cases, Hughes scored 29-28 scorecards for the winning fighter, awarding Milana Dudieva the victory over Elizabeth Phillips, and Royston Wee the victory over Yao Zhikui.

The UFC, which functions as its own athletic commission in regions that lack a governing body, released a statement Tuesday morning admonishing White for his "breach of [the UFC's] independent regulatory protocol," stating that neither White nor any other UFC executive possesses the authority to remove a judge from their assignment, regardless of whether an event is self-regulated or overseen under a specific athletic commission.

"The UFC remains committed to maintaining the strictest regulatory environment for competition and vows that no similar breach of protocol will happen again," the statement read.

"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."