CSAC director: Judges knew Hendricks won, but couldn't do anything about it
NOV 29, 2013 1:45p ET
Andy Foster had just finished up dinner at Boston's in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and was washing his hands in the bathroom when he heard Bruce Buffer announce the result of the Georges St-Pierre-Johny Hendricks welterweight title fight at UFC 167.
Foster was floored when St-Pierre was read as the winner. The fans around him were incensed - they, like many, thought Hendricks won handily.
"We're never watching this crap again," Foster heard one say. "This is rigged just like [pro] wrestling."
Little did they know that standing a few feet away from them was the executive director of the California State Athletic Commission. You know, the guy who oversees the judges who make those decisions.
This particular fight was in Las Vegas - out of Foster's jurisdiction - but the reaction made his blood boil.
"None of these guys are bad people," Foster said of judges Sal D'Amato and Tony Weeks, who scored the bout for St-Pierre. "They're not taking a bribe. It's not rigged. The scoring system just puts them in a box."
Unlike many, Foster doesn't blame the judges. He blames the rules - the round-by-round scoring and the 10-point must system. Neither of those regulations, he points out, were made for MMA. They were adopted for boxing, which has 10 or more three-minute rounds per bout compared to three or five five-minute rounds in MMA.
Foster was angry about the decision - he thought Hendricks won - and he's disappointed in other recent controversial judgments. He won't take it lying down, either - he's doing something about it.
This week, he contacted Jeff Mullen, the chairman of the MMA rules committee for the Association of Boxing Commissions, and Nick Lembo, counsel to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. Mullen, Foster said, will be calling a meeting of the judges committee in December to hash out a potential solution to what Foster believes is one of the biggest problems facing MMA today.
"We have got to try something different, because this system that we've got is not working," Foster said. "With a really good judge, it works 90 to 95 percent, but I wouldn't get on an airplane if it only worked 90 to 95 percent of the time."
What Foster is proposing is pretty simple. All he wants after a fight is for the three judges to answer one question: Who won?
"I just need to know who won, the public needs to know who won," Foster said. "I need to be able to sign my name to who won with a straight face. It's ridiculous."
“I need to be able to sign my name to who won with a straight face. It's ridiculous.”
If that system was in place for the GSP-Hendricks fight, Foster is certain Hendricks would be the UFC welterweight champion right now. He could be right. Weeks and D'Amato gave St-Pierre the first, third and fifth rounds. But all of those were very close, while Hendricks dominated in the second and fourth.
"These guys know damn well then they got to the end of the fight that St-Pierre didn't win that fight," Foster said. "They know it. They're sitting there looking at him, he just got his ass handed to him."
Foster, who came to California after a successful tenure as the executive director of the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission, still wants judges to score rounds. It would not count toward the end result, just give the commission, the media and fans some insight into their selection as the victor.
Even if his plan isn't implemented, Foster is just hoping for a dialogue. He was glad UFC president Dana White was so outspoken after UFC 167 about his distaste for the decision.
"Does anybody here think that Johny Hendricks didn't win the fight?" White said afterward. "I'm blown away that Georges St-Pierre won that fight. And listen, I'm a promoter. He's the biggest pay-per-view star on the f***ing planet for me, and I still don't think he won that fight."
Foster believes there must be a better way.
"We have people's careers at stake here," he said. "We're not doing a good job and it doesn't seem like enough people care."