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White slams judge for ‘crazy’ 10-8 scorecard in Grasso vs. Shevchenko rematch

UFC president Dana White was not happy with the judging in the main event of Noche UFC, which saw Alexa Grasso retain her flyweight title after a split draw with Valentina Shevchenko.

White, who was on vacation but watched the fight, said he was shocked by judge Mike Bell’s decision to score the fifth round 10-8 for Grasso, which ultimately made the difference in the outcome.

“When I found out that one of the judges scored 10-8, I’m like, this guy should be f****** investigated for this. This is the craziest s*** I’ve ever seen in my life,” White said Tuesday.

The fifth round was a close one, with both fighters landing significant strikes and attempting submissions. Grasso had a slight edge in total strikes (32 to 28) and significant strikes (24 to 20), but Shevchenko had more control time (2:07 to 1:02) and a near finish with an armbar in the final seconds. Many observers scored the round 10-9 for Grasso, but not 10-8.

Bell’s scorecard contrasted with the other two judges, who scored the round 10-9 for Shevchenko. The final scores were 47-47, 48-46 for Grasso, and 48-46 for Shevchenko.

White said he was baffled by Bell’s logic, especially considering that he did not score the second round 10-8 for Shevchenko, who dropped Grasso with a right hand and dominated her on the ground.

“Valentina gets dropped in [Round 2] — that’s not a 10-8 but the fifth round is a 10-8? It literally makes no sense,” White said.

White added that he was told by the Nevada State Athletic Commission that there will be a seminar on Wednesday to discuss the criteria for scoring 10-8 rounds. He hoped that the commission will address the issue and ensure that such mistakes do not happen again, especially in title fights.

“Unfortunately, you’ll probably never have the opportunity to have him sitting somewhere like this and ask him that question, because only he knows the answer to that question,” White said of Bell. “You have to have the best of the best in title fights. So they’ve assured me that this guy isn’t a bad guy, he just f***** up and made a mistake, and it’s unfortunate, and there’s no way in hell that was a 10-8 round.”

White also confirmed that he plans to book an immediate trilogy fight between Grasso and Shevchenko, who fought to a majority draw in their first encounter at UFC 256. He said he is comfortable with Shevchenko’s recovery from a broken thumb that required surgery, and suggested that Erin Blanchfield vs. Manon Fiorot could be a potential No. 1 contender fight in the meantime.

“They have to rematch. You have do the rematch. We will rematch them. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the fight that needs to happen,” White said.

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