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Matt Brown rips judge scoring Cory Sandhagen vs. Marlon Vera: ‘Absolutely f’****** ludicrous’

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UFC Fight Night: Vera v Sandhagen Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Judging in MMA will never be perfect, but it’s a rare occasion when almost every fighter, journalist, fan and pundit alike agrees on a particularly egregious scorecard.

Perhaps the best example of that came this past weekend at UFC San Antonio when Cory Sandhagen put on a lights out performance to beat Marlon “Chito” Vera in the main event yet he somehow had to sweat out a split decision. That came as a result of judge Joel Ojeda, who inexplicably gave the final three rounds and thus the fight to Vera while Sal D’Amato and Chris Lee both overwhelmingly scored the fight in favor of Sandhagen with scores of 50-45 and 49-46.

In the aftermath of the event, Ojeda has come under fire just as much as the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for placing him in the main event despite only previously scoring one UFC fight — and that came in the prelims on the same exact card. UFC welterweight Matt Brown, who believes he’s been the victim of poor judging in the past, admitted that he’s never seen anything quite like the scorecard that Ojeda handed in Saturday night.

“I’m not trying to make his life hell either but I think he should find a different job though,” Brown said about Ojeda on the latest episode of The Fighter vs. The Writer. “I don’t care what his experience is. I don’t care if he judged 100 fights before. There is no excuse for that scorecard whatsoever. That’s all there is to it. You have to struggle to find one round for ‘Chito.’ I know some people gave him a round, probably the third round, and it’s ridiculous to give him the third round. Because he landed a punch?

“Look, I love ‘Chito’ Vera, one of my favorite fighters, but he did nothing to earn a single round on Saturday night. Not a single thing. No way. I think he would come on and admit it himself. I don’t think he would be dishonest about it. Maybe it wasn’t his best performance, maybe something happened, whatever. I don’t know. But there is simply no excuse for that scorecard, period. There is nothing else to say about it. That is the biggest bulls*** scorecard that I think I’ve ever seen.”

The most perplexing part about the scorecard was Ojeda somehow scoring the third, fourth and fifth rounds for Vera. While Lee did give Vera the third round, both he and D’Amato gave the fourth and the fifth rounds to Sandhagen without question yet somehow Ojeda disagreed.

After watching the fight, Brown didn’t really understand how a single round would have ended up for Vera but giving him three rounds is criminal.

“It’s like another bad decision but this to me — just the fact that he gave him three rounds,” Brown said. “If there was one round in question, like I think one judge gave him a 49-46, some people were talking about the third round. He gave him three rounds.

“You cannot justify that. That is absolutely f****** ludicrous. Get the f*** out of here with that.”

As much as Brown has argued for better scoring criteria when it comes to MMA judging, he can’t even blame that as a reason why Ojeda somehow gave Vera three rounds that night. Just going by the visuals of a fist fight, Brown saw exactly what the rest of the world — outside of Ojeda — witnessed at UFC San Antonio.

“You don’t even have to know the criteria to score that fight for Cory,” Brown exclaimed. “There was no possible way you could have scored it [for ‘Chito’ Vera].

“We’ve seen some pretty bad ones in the past but that scorecard’s got to be one of the top five [worst]. Like I said, ‘Chito’ in the third round, as far as I remember, he landed like one punch.”

While Sandhagen rightfully left with a victory on his record, Brown says that’s also going to make it awfully easy to forget that he won a split decision rather than going home with three lopsided scorecards in his favor.

Brown is quick to point out that if Ojeda clearly made the wrong call then there’s always a chance that a second official could have done the same, which means Sandhagen loses. In his opinion, Brown believes that would have been one of the worst decisions in the history of the sport but as it stands, only one judge is taking the blame and he’ll likely fade back into anonymity until the UFC eventually returns to Texas.

“The right guy won the fight. That’s great,” Brown said. “But there’s only three judges, there’s only three scorecards. He was one away from losing that fight. It just speaks to the larger problem whether it’s the judges themselves or whether it is the actual scoring system that is a little bit flawed and confusing. It’s just a larger problem.

“I’m glad that we’re highlighting this because a lot of people would look over this because the right person won and it’s just kind forgotten about. But it needs to be highlighted. He was one scorecard away, Cory was one scorecard away from having this taken away from him.”

Listen to new episodes of The Fighter vs. The Writer with Matt Brown and Damon Martin every Tuesday with audio versions of the podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio and Stitcher

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