If you watched the UFC 262 main event between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler and came away from the first round thinking Chandler won it 10-8, get your eyes checked please. This especially goes for the two judges who scored it that way.
According to the official scorecard, both Sal D’Amato and Chris Lee awarded Chandler 10-8 marks after Round 1. Marcos Rosales, meanwhile, scored it 10-9 for Chandler. Thankfully, the judges weren’t needed to decide the lightweight championship, as Oliveira won by TKO early in Round 2. But if they were, “Do Bronx” had his work cut out for him thanks to some serious judging ineptitude.
The CliffsNotes of Round 1 go like this: For the first 35 seconds, they were even in the standup. Then Chandler landed a left hand that put Oliveira on the defensive and caused him to shoot for a takedown. Chandler briefly went for a guillotine, but once Oliveira got free, the next 90 seconds belonged to him as Chandler gave up his back. Oliveira worked from there, but he didn’t mount anything serious. With about 2:40 remaining, Chandler popped his hips free and got back to standing. The action stalled until Oliveira stood up with 2:00 left, at which point Chandler had his best moment, stunning Oliveira again with a left hand that forced him to the mat. Chandler spent 20 seconds swarming to finish but couldn’t, then he fell into Oliveira’s guard. Although Chandler controlled the rest of the round in top position, Oliveira never was in danger of being finished.
“Michael Chandler won that round, but when Charles Oliveira gets you down, takes your back, does good things in the round, how in the world are you scoring that 10-8 as a judge?” said Cormier, who called the fight on ESPN+ pay-per-view from cageside. “Because the reality is that judges are so afraid, and they really don’t want to give a 10-7 round, but if that is a 10-8 round, what is worse? What do you have to do to go 10-7?
“If you recall, when Glover Teixeira beat Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira busted his tooth out of his mouth, that was a 10-8 round. How in the world can you judge these two rounds the same? One was an absolute beating, and the other was a competitive round.”
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You remember the beating Teixeira gave Smith, don’t you? At UFC on ESPN+ 29 last May, Teixeira dominated Smith for four-plus rounds until the referee finally stopped the fight at the 1:04 mark of the fifth. Rounds 3 and 4 rightfully were scored 10-8 by all three judges after Teixeira beat the hell out of Smith in every way. Standing up, on the ground, Smith was in a world of hurt for those 10 minutes – Teixeira even knocked teeth out of his mouth.
Here’s the mind-blowing part: D’Amato and Lee judged the Teixeira-Smith fight. To Cormier’s point with regard to Round 1 of Oliveira-Chandler, how in the world can you judge these two rounds the same? It’s inexcusable these scores would come from the same two judges based on rounds that were nothing alike in different fights.
Tell ’em, DC.
“When you take the responsibility (as a judge), you have to be very careful,” Cormier said. “Because they were about to mess up that fight. Had that gone five rounds, you would’ve had Charles Oliveira down two rounds after a very competitive round. You are taking responsibility for people’s livelihoods and their careers. You have to watch carefully and truly understand what you are watching. It’s crazy that they scored it 10-8.”