This is slowly but surely becoming the summer of the screw up as a stupid reffing decision and judging incompetence combined to create a perfect storm that took Jame Varner’s apparent win over Kamal Shalorus at WEC 49 and smashed it like a fishing dingy under a 30 foot wave:
As the third round opened, Shalorus was also dealing with an injured right hand, and the two fighters were forced to search for alternatives. Jabs and kicks were in high demand. Unfortunately, one such kick again scored to Varner’s groin. While a disqualification wouldn’t have necessarily been out of line, Rosenthal declined to even deduct a second point and instead offered only another warning. While it seemed elementary at the time with Varner apparently cruising to a win, Rosenthal’s choice would factor heavily into the final result.
With Shalorus using a takedown and solid control to claim the final round, the judges were forced to render a decision in the contest. All three issued a different result. The scores came in as 29-27 Varner, 29-27 Shalorus and a 28-28 draw, leaving the fight ruled a split draw. Had the second point been deducted, Varner would have walked away with a split-decision victory.
On the bright side for Varner, fans did end up cheering his name at points in the fight, which is something the lightweight contender isn’t used to hearing.
Why Rosenthal decided not to take a second point on the third FIFA-quality kick to the junk is beyond my comprehension. But the judging thing makes more ‘sense’ when you see who was doing the judging:
The scores were a surprise, to say the least. Nelson Hamilton seemed to get it right with his 29-27 tally for Varner, but local yokel Cameron Quwek had it 29-27 for Shalorus, meaning he gave all three rounds to the Iranian, minus the point deduction. Ridiculous. Putting the anti-climactic cherry on top, Cecil Peoples cast the final vote — a 28-28, making the match a split draw.
Now it’s easy to blast Cecil Peoples since he’s got a history of being an idiot to the point where there are fake action figures dedicated to mocking his elite judging skills. But what about Edmonton judging flavor Cameron Quwek, who gave all three rounds to Shalorus? At this point even the possibility that judges may one day be held accountable for blown calls (already just a shadow of a hope of a dream) doesn’t make me confident that we can fix MMA judging. There seems to be more than enough incompetent judging wherever you go that even tossing out the bums would just result in more bums coming in and doing an equally crap job.
For your statistical reference: the Fightmetric from Varner / Shalorus.