5 Talking Points from UFC 208
So UFC 208 is in the books and unfortunately what looked like a weak card on paper ended up being a weak show in execution as well. When UFC president Dana White is quoted as saying his highlight was the flight home, you know it’s a bad show.
In fact this was probably the worst UFC PPV since 2014’s disappointing UFC 174.
We got a ten-fight card with a whopping nine decisions; Ian McCall’s fight was cancelled on uber-short notice again (for the fifth time in a row in fact) and we also lost a Heavyweight fight on short notice too, when newcomer Justin Willis somehow couldn’t make the 265lbs limit (!) for his fight with Marcin Tybura.
All in all, not good.
Still, as with any UFC show there are always a few interesting talking points – even if a lot of them this time don’t have much to do with what were a bunch of really slow fights overall.
#1: Issues with the New York State Athletic Commission
As everyone is well aware, New York is the most recent US state to legalise MMA and as it was the UFC’s equivalent of Moby Dick for many years, the promotion have promised the state a large amount of shows per year.
If that’s the case then the NYSAC needs some improvement, stat, or the UFC might be facing all kinds of issues judging by this show.
We’re all used to issues surrounding the judges at MMA shows, with their scoring of fights often not matching up with the scoring done by fans and online analysts. UFC 208 unfortunately had more judging issues than most shows.
Firstly, the prelim between Islam Makhachev and Nik Lentz saw Makhachev pick up a unanimous decision, which was undoubtedly the correct call. The problem was more with the scoring.
On a night when the UFC were clearly pushing the judges being more liberal with 10-8 rounds, Makhachev in my opinion should’ve received 10-8 scores for both R2 and R3 and in fact judges Chris Lee and Eric Colon did score the fight that way.
Douglas Crosby however scored the fight 30-27 for Makhachev, meaning three 10-9’s. The red flag here is that it’s a well-known fact that Crosby is a good friend of Lentz, which raises the question as to why he was chosen to judge the fight in the first place? As we all know, it’s the state athletic commission that chooses the judges, not the UFC.
Judging issues would raise their head again in the Anderson Silva/Derek Brunson fight, but for now we’ll look at the other fudge from the NYSAC, this time in the main event. The choice of referee for the Holly Holm/Germaine de Randamie title match was bizarre to say the least, as despite experienced and well-known referees Yves Lavigne and Dan Miragliotta working the show, the nod was given to the largely unknown Todd Anderson, who in his wisdom allowed de Randamie to land punches on Holm after the buzzer in both the second and third rounds.
The penalty for these illegal blows? Nothing, nada. Barely even a warning. This was a ludicrous call and had Anderson taken a point as he should’ve done in the third round, the fight would’ve been called as a draw.
I know the NYSAC is new to the sport of MMA but with the amount of shows the UFC plan to do in the state – the next one is another big PPV, UFC 210 in Buffalo – they need to shape up quickly.