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Texas commission stands by controversial judge at UFC 247

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MMA: UFC 247-Jones vs Reyes Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas commission is standing by a judge at the center of controversy after UFC 247.

Joe Soliz, who gave UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones a 49-46 score over Dominick Reyes in the pay-per-view event’s headliner, will continue to serve as an official, per the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

UFC commentator Joe Rogan called Solis’ scorecard “insane” and blasted MMA officials, calling for fighters, commentators and journalists to design a new and better system of judging. The commission defended its performance at the event, attributing controversy to fans’ passion.

Asked whether the commission plans to review its policies on judging and officiating in light of controversy, TDLR spokesperson Tela Mange told MMA Fighting the commission is “always evaluating ways to improve our performance, and there’s always more to learn.”

Currently, judges in Texas have to meet three major requirements: be at least 21 years of age; have at least 20/40 corrected vision in each eye; have no criminal convictions that directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of a judge; and demonstrate the ability to perform the functions of a judge. The latter requirement can be met in a variety of ways: Judging five complete cards under the commission’s supervision; having three years “active experience” as a judge; being licensed as a judge in a state with licensing requirements similar to Texas; or having a license in Texas that’s lapsed.

All of those requirements can be waived by the executive director if a judge is in good standing with the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation, or World Boxing Organization.

The TDLR also conducts officials training, and Mange said the commission is evaluating whether to add ongoing education as a requirement of being a judge.

UFC President Dana White agreed with Rogan’s assessment of the scores in the main event and indicated he’d scored the fight for Reyes. He attributed the commission’s performance to inexperience in overseeing major MMA events. But he stopped short of withholding future events from Texas.

“First of all, the powers that be and the commission have to realize that there were mistakes made and these things are gonna happen,” White said. “Nothing’s perfect, no commission is perfect, no state is perfect. It’s just something we have to work on.”

A crestfallen Reyes said he’d like to “have a word” with Solis and declared victory over Jones.

“I think I won that fight,” the title challenger later told MMA Fighting. “I think the judges scored it wrong, but to say robbery, I don’t know. I felt like something was taken from me than I earned.

“I’ve replayed it a million times in my head. I even try to see it from their point of view, and it’s like no matter how I slice it, I won that fight. It sucks. It definitely sucks, but I’m moving forward. I have a super bright future ahead of me. I’m going to get that rematch.”