Rory MacDonald knows without a doubt that he should return from PFL 5 with a victory to his credit.
Instead, he will enter the PFL playoffs after a much controversial split decision loss after falling to Gleison Tibau in a three-round fight that looked like a guaranteed win until the scorecards of the judges are announced.
“I’m very disappointed,” MacDonald said at the PFL 5 post-fight press conference. “I believe and everyone I spoke to, everyone online, scored the fight for. me, even three rounds to zero. I think it was clearly a theft. I thought I was dominant in this fight.
“It was a tough fight. Gleison brought it on and respected it, but I think I clearly won this fight. I think this should be looked at.
Over the course of three laps, MacDonald consistently stuck his jab in Tibau’s face, using a considerable range advantage to help him score with striking combinations. As Tibau refused to go and continued to swing with great power behind his punches, he took many more punches than he delivered in the fight.
Upon reading the decision, MacDonald was visibly dejected by the dashboards. He adopted the same demeanor at the press conference, where he was understandably upset by the added loss to his resume.
“I was totally sure [I won]MacDonald said. “I was so surprised when the first judge they announced scored it for him. I was shocked. But when I heard the split decision he got, I was blown away. I mean, what are you saying? I didn’t see it that way at all.
The controversial appeals made by judges in mixed martial arts are certainly nothing new, but MacDonald seems to be the latest victim in the constant trend of confusing scores, especially during the turn-based breakdown.
The biggest difference on Thursday night went to judges Cardo Urso and Dave Tirelli giving Tibau the first round despite MacDonald pulling off the cleanest combinations, scoring plenty of shots to the body, as well as nearly securing a back choke submission after that MacDonald took his opponent’s back during a grappling rally.
Only Judge Eric Colon gave MacDonald the first round of his scoreboard, and ultimately Colon was the only one to give MacDonald the green light at the end of the fight.
Despite the outcome of this particular game, MacDonald will continue to advance in the PFL playoffs. But that doesn’t negate his take on bad judges that cost him a second straight win in 2021.
“We shouldn’t have to [worry] as fighters, as competitors, ”MacDonald said of his fight score. “We should be able to fight and stand still in order to have competent, fair and truthful judgments in our sport. It shouldn’t be something we have to worry about and endanger our necks and health for doing something stupid. It’s just crazy.
“We don’t have that in any other major sporting event. It seems like we are getting this over and over again in our sport and it is such a shame. “
Find the full PFL 5 results here.