By Zach Arnold | May 21, 2014
UFC hyped up a major controversy for Wednesday’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter series featuring BJ Penn & Frankie Edgar as coaches. It proved to be the final act for both Keith Kizer & Steve Mazzagatti in Nevada. After this incident, changes were promptly made to the Athletic Commission.
The show featured a Middleweight fight between Edgar fighter Ian Stephens and Penn fighter Roger Zapata. Dana White spent the last half of the show trashing Stephens as a lay-and-pray, human wet blanket with no intent to finish an opponent with effective submissions. He went out of his way to bury Stephens. Very Dana-like but still curious behavior.
Stephens and Zapata went to a draw after two rounds. Zapata was nailing Stephens with elbows to the head throughout the fight and Mazzagatti got on his case about it. They went to a third round to determine a winner. Mazzagatti took a point away from Zapata for an illegal elbow. Dana blew his gasket and started ranting & raving about how to properly officiate that kind of situation by giving a warning first. At the end of the third round, two of the judges had scored the round a 9-9 round but one judge scored it a 10-8 round in favor of Stephens.
When Mazzagatti announced the winner of the fight, he raised Zapata’s hand and called him “Ian Zapata.” Everyone went crazy. Mazzagatti tried a do-over and said “Roger Zapata” but the UFC editors made sure to leave the mistake in. White blew a gasket and said it was impossible for the judges to give Zapata the win given that he lost a point in the third round. Dana claims that since only one judge declared a winner after the third round that the judges were asked to pick an overall winner (PRIDE-style) and they picked Zapata. This situation reminded me of the odd scenario ESPN was pushing in Nevada during the early stages of their Boxcino tournaments where there was a proposed situation involving fans, via Facebook, being able to pick a winner in the 7th round of a fight if judges could not pick a tie-breaking winner.
Dana went on his usual rant about not leaving a decision in the hands of judges. He basically berated Mazzagatti and Kizer the same way he threw a fit over Ariel Helwani asking Chuck Liddell about his desire to fight Jon Jones.