Oftentimes, the judges’ decisions from UFC events open up a Pandora’s box of opinions.
Last Saturday night’s UFC 297 main event from Toronto, Canada was no exception. After five rounds to contest the promotion’s middleweight championship, South Africa’s Dricus du Plessis was declared the winner by split decision, claiming the title previously held by opponent Sean Strickland in the process.
The general feeling from the MMA community in the past couple of days appears to suggest that Stickland won the first and fifth, while Du Plessis won three and hour — leaving a razor-thin second round as the difference-maker.
The media scoring aggregator, MMA Decisions, shows that reporters’ opinions of the fight were almost split down the middle, though slightly more media members scored the fight for Du Plessis by three rounds to two.
Afterwards, though, UFC CEO Dana White admitted to the media that he was in the minority camp, and that he felt Strickland did enough to eke out a decision.
“We were just looking at how the media had scored it and right down the middle,” White said in response to a question from The Mac Life. “I had it 2-2 going into the last round and I thought that Strickland won the last round. Guys who were sitting at the same table had it the other way. It was a close fight.
“I thought Strickland looked great in the first two rounds,” White added. “I mean, the jab was f*cking beautiful. You don’t see jabs like that in MMA, and the jab did what they’re supposed to do — both of his eyes were swollen shut. He slowed down in the third and fourth, and Du Plessis kept coming forward.
“I had it even going to the fifth round,” White stated. “And was like, ‘This is the round … see who wants it.’ They both started to turn it up a little bit. It’s just one of those tight fights. But, I’m also one of these guys … I believe you have to take it from the champion.”
Speaking after White’s comments, Du Plessis had just a few words for his his boss’s verdict: “Dana said I lost the fight? Well, bullshit.”