Following his recent controversial split decision loss to Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night, Ross Pearson is appealing the result to New Mexico’s Athletic Commission.
Despite popular opinion that the decision was simply wrong, the reality is that the NMAC is unlikely to overturn the result even if they side with the public’s views. Judges getting it wrong simply is not enough. The appeal’s process is governed by New Mexico’s Professional Athletic Competition Act, Rules and Regulations which does allow the NMAC to overturn a judges decision, however the criteria to do so are strict and unlikely to be met.
Section 126.96.36.199 govern and read as follows:
188.8.131.52 CHANGE OF DECISION:
A. Reasons Decisions May Be Changed: A decision rendered at the termination of any bout is final and cannot be changed unless the commission determines that any one of the following situations has occurred.
(1) Collusion: That there was collusion affecting the results of any bout.
(2) Scoring error: That an error occurred in the compilation of the judges scorecards that would indicate that the official decision had been awarded to the wrong contestant.
(3) Violation of rules and regulations: That there was a clear violation of the rules and regulations governing the sanctioning of martial arts bouts that affected the result of the bout.
Incorrect judging simply is not a criteria. The reality is that the decision is likely to stay. If the NMAC finds the decision was wrong their only real remedy relates to the licencing of the official. Ross Pearson, on the other hand, likely needs to live with the decision.
Update – June 18, 2014 – MMAFighting reports, as expected, that the judges decision will remain intact as “there is nothing in the commission’s rules or statutes that allows them to reverse a controversial decision.”.