Backstage at T-Mobile, Pimblett didn’t get much time to enjoy his unanimous decision over Jared Gordon before reporters told him the word “robbery” was being used to describe the outcome.
“I’m bit annoyed after people saying they thought I lost,” Pimblett said during the UFC 282 post-fight show. “I’m pretty annoyed, to be honest. But I’m 4-0 in the UFC – haters going to hate, you’ve got to get on with it.”
Pimblett walked into the Las Vegas arena as the breakout star of the event, given a walkout reserved for headliner status and cheered by thousands in attendance, more than a few of them wearing Pimblett wigs.
At the announcement of three 29-28 scores for Pimblett, the audience erupted, though a few boos could be heard. Whatever the split for and against him, the unanimous decision was the inescapable fact for the U.K. star.
“It’s not as thought it was a split decision victory,” he said. “But I’ll be honest, I thought I won the first two, and I took the third round off. It’s my own stupid fault – you should never take a round off, thinking you’re two rounds up. It goes without saying.”
Pimblett spent the majority of the third frame stuffed against the cage, wrestling for position and trading minor attacks with Gordon, who repeatedly cracked him with punches in the first two rounds. The lesson for Pimblett was clear in retrospect: never bank on judges’ interpretation of the action.
At the same time, Pimblett’s own interpretation of what happened didn’t leave room for any other conclusion.
“Nowadays, fights get scored off damage, and I’ve got a cut lip, that’s it,” he said. “I did more damage in every single round. His face is beat up. He’s got a busted nose. He’ had a little cut on his head, he had damage around his eyes.”
UFC commentator Dominick Cruz pointed to a different metric – control time – as an argument that, at the very least, could lead to some understanding of those who saw the fight for Gordon.
“If somebody tells me I have six-and-a-half minutes of control time on me, I would, in my own position, wonder if, ‘Yeah, maybe I could see how you would think that the other person won,’” Cruz offered. “You don’t see that at all from any others, because it’s 15 minutes long.”
“I understand what you’re saying there,” Pimblett replied. “The control time, in the last round, yeah, he controlled me against the fence, but he didn’t do anything with it. I think I was landing the better knees and little short shots in those positions when he had me pushed against the cage.”
“It’s just a question of, ‘We can’t see any other...just 100 percent unanimous decision from your eyes?” Cruz said. “There’s no chance ...
“No,” Pimblett said. “Even the control time, I don’t see. Like, I’m going to watch the fight back, obviously. Some people have said to me, they think I won all three rounds, even the third, because he never did anything with the control time. I ended up on his back, landing a few shots.”
Officially, Gordon outlanded Pimblett in total strikes (100 to 97) and takedowns (3 to 0), while Pimblett was ahead on significant strikes (63 to 58), according to UFC stats. Twenty-three of 24 media outlets scoring the fight gave it to Gordon, with a little less than half giving the American the 30-27 shutout.
There’s a likely another conversation ahead about the MMA scoring and how judges look at the action they’re seeing. But what Pimblett sees in accusations of a robbery is the personal overriding the professional.
“I think that’s just because people hate me,” he said.