Highly ranked UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns believes the FBI should investigate the judge who has been heavily criticized by the MMA community for turning in a head-scratching scorecard last weekend.
Bantamweight stars Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Vera headlined the promotion’s return to San Antonio, Texas, on March 25. After five rounds, Sandhagen was the clear winner as he landed more than double the significant strikes “Chito” did, and he also earned three successful takedowns that came with around seven minutes of control time.
However, apparently judge Joel Ojeda saw things differently as he scored the final three frames for Chito. He turned in a 48-47 card in favor of Vera. However, it wasn’t enough to grant Chito the victory as judges Chris Lee and Sal D’Amato scored the match 49-46 and 50-46 for Sandhagen, respectively. After Bruce Buffer announced the decision, Ojeda’s quality of judging drew the ire of MMA fans and pundits alike, including Burns.
“Durinho” spoke with TMZ ahead of his UFC 287 clash with Jorge Masvidal. And during the interview, Burns took aim at Ojeda, likening the situation to the fight-fixing allegations circling MMA bettor and former fighter James Krause. “I think this judge needs to be investigated,” Burns said.
“We need the FBI on this judge. Because those judges may be working with the betting company, maybe doing something behind — getting a third person to bet. I just think those guys are doing something crazy.
“I just think it’s not real. I think those guys are being dirty and maybe trying to get money out of this.”
Ojeda Only Has 4 Judged Fights Under His Belt, According to MMA Decisions, & Was Placed in a Headlining UFC Fight
Ojeda, who was chosen by the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to judge the 135-pound headliner, only has four judged fights on his resume, per MMA Decisions’ database, which includes Sandhagen vs. Vera.
Severe MMA’s Sean Sheehan tweeted about the commission’s negligence in appointing Ojeda to a UFC main event, a spot that should be reserved for veteran judges only. “To have someone that inexperienced judging a UFC main event is absolutely ridiculous,” he tweeted. “And he showed he wasn’t able for the task.”
“And please, don’t slate this specific judge too much,” Sheehan continued. “The commission putting someone that inexperienced into the spot is the issue here. Maybe in a few years with a load of experience he could be a good judge. He should never have been placed in that position by inept commission.”
Burns Called for Athletic Commissions to Make a Change
Burns continued, saying that although he rooted for Vera, he knows that the Ojeda’s scoring wasn’t up to snuff.
“Chito’s my guy and I want him to win,” Burns continued. “But, there’s no way he won that fight. It’s clear to anyone. What’s wrong with that judge? You know, it’s not the first time. What bothers me is that it doesn’t stop. Every event it happens, like, come on. We need to make a decision. I know it’s not up to the UFC but the commission — we have to do something otherwise nothing changes.”