The Holly Holm vs de Randamie main fight during UFC 208 ended in a controversial decision, as the outcome was left up to the judges and they gave the victory to Germaine, confusing and angering Holm fans across the globe. A good chunk of this controversy can by attributed to the fact that de Randamie connected with hard punches after the horn was blasted at the end of the second and third rounds, but only received a warning from referee Todd Anderson.
After the fight, Holly said that the punches she sustained from de Randamie after the buzzer went off were the “hardest hits she took all night.”
de Randamie’s win, even without factoring in the end-of-round violations, is still questionable. Did she get some good shots in before the rounds were officially over? Yes, of course she did, but Holly was far more active and dominant when all was said and done. I’m not a judge, so I don’t claim to know how they’re supposed to score a fight, but I’m also far from the only UFC fan to be dissatisfied and confused about the night’s outcome.
Referee Todd Anderson also did a hideous job of officiating the Holm vs. de Randamie fight, as his decisions of when to take action and when not to take action were, whether intentionally or unintentionally, against the best interests of Holm. In addition to his choice of not to nix a point from de Randamie for slugging Holm after the bell twice, he also broke up Holly’s efforts to take down her opponent by working Germaine against the cage, something de Randamie is, at least when compared to Holm, not skillful at or comfortable with.
According to Bleacher Report, UFC president Dana White empathizes with the ire of Holm fans, casting blame toward the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC), who was responsible for issuing the referees for the event Saturday night. White said he doesn’t believe any New York ref should preside over a main event matchup.
“They don’t have enough experience. He should not have been there,” Dana said during a post-fight interview.
Does referee Todd Anderson not know the rules of MMA fighting? Did he willingly choose to ignore Germaine’s violations or did he truly not know de Randamie’s actions warranted a point deduction way before he was willing to deduct one?
According to UFC Rules and Regulations, “attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the round” constitutes a foul. Thus de Randamie fouled Holm two times without consequence. Technically, Anderson could have taken away a point after the first occurrence.
“Only a referee can assess a foul. If the referee does not call the foul, judges must not make that assessment on their own and should not factor such into their scoring calculations.”
Even though I know it’s not the job of the judges to call out fouls or withdraw points from a fighter for committing a foul, I was still holding out hope that the judges would compensate for the failure of the officiator to properly do his job and dock a point from Germaine’s final tally.
Holm, during her own post-fight press conference, said she does believe de Randamie’s post-bell punches were intentional and Holly has, as a result of Germaine’s dirty fighting, lost respect for “The Iron Lady.”
After the second post-bell hit, you can see the look on de Randamie’s face after the referee reaches in to try and stop her from making any more contact with Holly. That look to me speaks volumes. Her expression said that she knew better, that she could have stopped after the bell, but chose not to. Even though Germaine should have been given a warning from the ref after the first infraction, she did not receive one until after her second offense, meaning she knew better than to hit Holm after the bell again, as a point would have likely been taken away (I say “likely” and not “certainly” because who knows with this ref).
Before de Randamie was declared the winner and first champion of the UFC Women’s featherweight division, there was speculation that the next female featherweight bout would be between the victor of the UFC 208 main event and Cris Cyborg, who some believe is the reason the 145-pound women’s weight class was created in the first place.
When Joe Rogan interviewed Germaine after she was announced the champion, he asked her about the prospect of going up against Cyborg, to which de Randamie disappointingly said she didn’t know when that would happen because she needs surgery to fix a problem with her hand.
Say what? If her primary weapon is in need of surgical intervention, why risk causing further damage by fighting Holly? Now that she has the belt, she’s going to take a break and not give another fighter a chance to win the title? Am I the only person who finds this a bit odd?
From what I’ve seen of Cris Cyborg, I don’t think she’d have much of a problem stealing the belt from de Randamie.
The Holm vs. de Randamie matchup was disappointing for more reasons than one. Neither the co-main event or the main fight resulted in a knockout or submission, the ref for Holm and de Randamie was painfully incompetent and in the end, a cheater was rewarded. Let’s hope UFC 209 makes up for the shortcomings of UFC 208.
[Featured Image by Anthony Geathers/Getty Images]