PITTSBURGH -- UFC Fight Night 83 brought a main card full of action and quick finishes to FOX Sports 1, but the evening did not kick off so smoothly in Pittsburgh.
Early on the card, during the Fight Pass prelims, Ashlee Evans-Smith and Marion Reneau fought to a decision, with the vast majority of media members scoring either a draw or a victory for Reneau. In the first round, Reneau rocked Evans-Smith with punches at the outset and then almost finished the bout with a guillotine just as the bell sounded.
That didn't stop two judges, Phil Rogers and Andrew Adkins, for scoring the round inexplicably for Evans-Smith.
Pennsylvania Athletic Commission executive director Greg Sirb talked about this decision after the event.
"There wasn’t any controversy," Sirb told MMA Fighting. "Reneau wins the first round. ... The second round was up for grabs, and then the third round [Evans-Smith] won. So it came down to who won that second round. That’s what it came down to."
The problem with this reasoning is that two judges scored the first for Evans-Smith despite Reneau's dominance. Sirb said the judges were fully aware of which fighter was which, and they submitted the score for what they believe transpired inside the Octagon.
"Everybody knew [who was who]," Sirb said. "We talked about it [the decision], and it was straight-up. They said she [Evans-Smith] won most of the [first] round, and Reneau came on strong. [Reneau] threw a flurry, but she [Evans-Smith] blocked everything and then Reneau had her in some type of choke, probably 10 seconds left."
All but one media member or outlet had Reneau winning the fight, according to MMADecisions.com. Two media members had Reneau winning the first round 10-8. Yet, Rogers and Adkins cageside had Evans-Smith winning the five minutes. There was also an addition error under the scores of judge John Lapcevic.
Moving forward, Sirb said he'll first evaluate the tape, then discuss the judges' decisions personally with them, potentially doling out penalties if necessary.
"We look at the tape – I’ll look at the tape – and then we’ll walk through," Sirb said. "We’ll walk through and say, ‘OK, what’d you think? What’d you do? Why’d you score it this way?’ I’ll look through the tape first. I just want to do it myself first, [because] it’s tough when you see it here. We’ll watch it, break it down, then we can see some things.
"You can suspend them [the judges]. But every year, we do a grid sheet – and now it’s been adopted all through the country. Say that one judge was the odd guy out, he went 10-9 the other way from the guys. We do that all year. If you’re always the odd guy out, you’re probably not going to be judging too much longer."
Also on the preliminary portion of the card, referee Chip Snyder initiated what appeared to be two quick standups from dominant positions in a bout between Anthony Smith and Leonardo Augusto Guimaraes. To Sirb, this is a non-issue.
"We talked about that [the quick referee standups] coming in, but, I mean, to that, the pressure is on the guy that’s down," Sirb said. "If you don’t want to stand up, then show action. That’s the way I look at it. If you don’t want to stand up, then show action and the ref’s not going to stand you up."