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Artem Levin complains about refereeing after GLORY title fight draw with Simon Marcus

James Law, GLORY Sports International

SAN DIEGO -- Artem Levin joked that the next time he steps into the GLORY ring, he's just going to take away a point from himself to start.

"I will say here, take my point away now so you don't need to do it later," the middleweight champion said through an interpreter Friday night at the GLORY 21 post-fight press conference.

Levin and Simon Marcus fought to a majority draw in the main event of the card at Valley View Casino Center. Levin retained his title, but that didn't mean he was happy with the result. Referee Marcos Rosales took a point away from the Russian in the third round for clinching. GLORY kickboxing has strict rules about clinching, unlike Muay Thai bouts.

"Every time I fight in GLORY the referee is talking to me about taking a point away," Levin said. "Why? The rules allow five-second clinch, active clinch. I am quick, I am hitting knees. This is not right, what they do. I do not like it."

Levin must not be too familiar with GLORY's rulebook. The organization's regulations posted online read that "grabbing, clinching or holding for any reason other than to immediately attack with a knee strike (or strikes) is a foul."

Marcus wasn't a happy guy afterward, either. When asked about the decision in the ring afterward by color commentator Stephen Quadros, the Canadian yelled "bullsh*t!"

"I won that fight!" Marcus screamed, then continued to rant as the microphone was pulled away from him. Marcus also blew off the post-fight press conference.

Two judges scored the bout 47-47, while one gave it to Marcus 48-46. The fans in attendance also thought Marcus won and should have been the new champion. He was the one who pressed the action, constantly coming forward. Levin might have landed good, clean shots in each round, but he was also content to clinch, which is why Rosales docked him a point.

GLORY CEO Jon Franklin was not upset by the dramatics. Actually, he saw it as something of an opportunity.

"I don't think we're unhappy," Franklin told MMAFighting.com. "It sets it up for a rematch. They're both great fighters. We're glad they're fighting in GLORY and we want to keep them in here and maybe do it again."

Franklin said nothing was set in stone and he had to go over the upcoming schedule with matchmaker Cor Hemmers. But he would be interested in Levin and Marcus going at it again "down the road it all works out."

Levin and Marcus have fought before with Marcus taking home a unanimous decision at Lion Fight in 2013 under Muay Thai rules. Levin, 28, has only lost once since then, to Joe Schilling at GLORY 10 in the same year. Marcus, 28, was coming off a tournament victory at GLORY 20 last month.

Franklin wouldn't say who he had winning the bout Friday night, conceding to the judges who were put in place by the California State Athletic Commission. The ball is definitely in GLORY's court now, though.

"They saw what they saw and for us, maybe it gives us the opportunity to let the guys go at it again," Franklin said.

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