Did “Self-Evident and Palpable Error” Occur in Werdum vs Ferreira Potential Tap?

Further update June 9, 2021 – Today I received the full reasonsons from the NJSACB regarding their decision. I highlight these here. The official bout result is a no decision.


Update – May 10, 2021 – Today it is reported that the bout is being overturned into a no contest


Last night Renan Ferreira was declared victor over Fabricio Werdum at a PFL event hosted in Atlantic City. Werdum had Ferreira in a triangle choke. Ferreira possibly tapped but the referee either did not see or did not believe it to be a tap and the bout continued with Ferreira escaping the position and winning via ground and pound shortly thereafter.

Ferriera was declared the winner. No instant replay was used despite New Jersey being one of the jurisdictions who has adopted the 2018 Association of Boxing Commissions instant replay rule.

According to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi replay was not used by the regulator because the promoter opted out of the tool for consistency because they claim to also run events in jurisdictions without replay. This explanation makes little sense as all of the 2021 PFL events have taken place or are scheduled to take place in New Jersey. All of their events in their last season took place in either New Jersey, New York or Nevada all three of which have the replay rule on the books as well. It is further strange because replay is a right used to protect a fighter’s interests, not a promotions.

Werdum is reportedly appealing the result. Leaving the above odd explanation aside, where do things go from here?

New Jersey uses a standard requiring proof that “the referee committed a self-evident and palpable error.”  in the bout outcome. The analysis should be twofold,

  1. did Ferreira tap?
  2. was the referee failing to see this a self-evidence and palpable error?

Regulators will likely interview both fighters, the referee, other ringside officials and from past precedent they also do appear to review footage as part of their appellate process.

In slow motion a tap did appear to occur. The becomes less clear when viewing what transpired in real time.

Was this a tap and did the referee commit self-evident and palpable error in failing to either see it or recognize it as such? Time will tell what the NJSACB has to say about that.

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