By Jaime C. Feal
The first ever flyweight fight in the UFC should have gone down in history as a thrilling war. Instead, the exciting bout between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall will be an afterthought due to rather bizarre circumstances. Since the fight was a semifinal of the tournament to determine the first UFC flyweight champion, it was scheduled for three rounds. However, in the event of a draw, the fight was to proceed to a sudden victory round; Round 4.
In the contest between Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall, the action was fast-paced and exciting. Johnson took the first two rounds on my scorecard, with the first round being close and the second a clear 10-9 round for “Mighty Mouse.” Round 3 was all Ian McCall, as he back mounted Johnson and pounded him for a 10-8 round on my scorecard. That would make it 28-28 for a draw, going to Round 4 to determine who moves on for a shot at the belt. And that’s what the official judges in Sydney, Australia ruled too. One big problem: someone misread the judges’ scorecards. The fight was announced as a majority decision for Demetrious Johnson after Round 3, so the fight ended with “Mighty Mouse” supposedly moving on to the finals. A disappointed McCall stormed off and the crowd booed the seemingly unfair result.
Later that night, UFC President Dana White revealed the mistake, with executive officer Craig Waller of the Combat Authority of New South Wales taking responsibility for the error. The result of the contest was changed to a draw, something that wasn’t supposed to happen, and now Johnson and McCall are going to have a rematch. “Mighty Mouse” and “Uncle Creepy” essentially wasted months of training, and three rounds of fighting, because of Craig Waller misreading the scorecards. The fighters are going to have to heal up and do it all over again with another semifinal. This is a huge black eye for the sport, and the UFC, in the first ever flyweight fight under their promotion.
Making the situation even worse is the fact that Joseph Benavidez, who crushed Yasuhiro Urushitani with strikes in the second semifinal, now sits in limbo. Benavidez awaits the winner of Johnson and McCall, and of course the winner of that fight has to rest and heal up again, so we’re talking about a half year wait or more for Benavidez. After knocking out a premier opponent in the semifinals, Benavidez should have been rewarded with a quick turnaround and the confidence that comes from his performance. Now it’s a situation where he could potentially develop cage rust for the biggest fight of his life as he sits and waits. Having a four man flyweight tournament seemed to be an ingenious way to kick off the new division in the UFC, but instead it has completely backfired.
In the Main Event of the evening, Thiago “Pitbull” Alves took on Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann in a welterweight bout. Alves controlled the fight with solid takedown defense and striking. Kampmann had his moments, but Alves was on top whenever the fight hit the ground for an extended period of time. Alves won the first two rounds on the scorecards and seemed to be in cruise control heading into Round 3. However, in the last minute of the fight, Alves shot in for a double leg takedown and got caught in a guillotine choke. Kampmann cinched up the choke, and swept Alves into full mount with the guillotine fully locked in. Alves tapped out and Kampmann secured the comeback victory.
Nevertheless, the night will be remembered for what could have been, as the flyweight tournament has been royally screwed up due to human error. In the future, safeguards should be put into place such as calculators or computers, and multiple humans, used to read the judges’ scorecards and determine the winner. Simply having one man be the factor as to whether the decision is announced correctly is extremely risky, and it cost the UFC and the fans of MMA on Friday night.