Daniel Cormier, Dominick Cruz react to controversial scorecard in Noche UFC main event: ‘That wasn’t a 10-8’
Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso battled it out for 25 minutes at Noche UFC, but their epic war ended with a dramatic thud after the result was announced as a split draw.
The outcome was ultimately decided by judge Mike Lee, who gave a 10-8 scorecard to Grasso for the fifth round, which put his final tally at 47-47. While Grasso definitely stormed back to claim the fifth round after a slick reversal saw her nearly lock on a rear-naked choke submission, Shevchenko still controlled the first few minutes on the feet before she ended up defending herself on the ground.
Daniel Cormier and Dominick Cruz, who called the fights alongside Jon Anik on Saturday, were equally confounded by Lee’s decision to score a 10-8 for Grasso in that fifth round.
“That wasn’t a 10-8,” Cormier said. “It’s just odd. The fight kind of went as we expected. [Round] 2 to Grasso, I thought she won Round 4, but if you don’t score it there, you’ve got Valentina as the champion.
“It’s unfortunate because this fight deserved a winner. These two women laid it all out on the line and they both fought beautifully. A draw, I guess, I don’t understand where he gets 10-8. I’m trying not to be too hard on the guy.”
The other two scorecards were split, with judge Sal D’Amato handing a 48-47 to Shevchenko, while judge Junichiro Kamijo gave a 48-47 to Grasso. Lee had Shevchenko winning three rounds as well, but it was that 10-8 in the fifth that gave him the 47-47 total — or the UFC flyweight title would have changed hands after the main event.
“At least we’re putting Mike Bell [up there] so we can say, ‘OK, Mike Bell, I don’t know what you were watching that made in a 10-8 round in the fifth,’” Cruz said. “Like, what was that about? I don’t understand.
“When you look at what it takes to make a 10-8 round, I don’t know how Mike Bell can say that’s what it is. When you look at criteria, I don’t know. There’s no consistency.”
The current scoring criteria states: “In determining whether to score a round as a 10-8 round, a judge shall evaluate the three factors of impact, dominance and duration. If the judge assesses that two of the three factors are present, the judge shall seriously consider whether to score the round as a 10-8 round. If all three factors are present, the judge shall score the round as a 10-8 round.”
That’s different than past versions of the scoring criteria, which made 10-8 rounds a rarity in MMA. But even by the updated standard, Cormier just doesn’t see how Grasso deserved a 10-8 score even if she clearly won the round.
“They want you to be more liberal with the 10-8’s, we know that now,” Cormier said. “But when it literally just makes a fight a draw, it’s almost like you’re salvaging [the result].
“I thought [Alexa Grasso] won the fifth round, but that was only about a minute and a half of that type of control.”
With the fight ending in a split draw, Grasso retains the title, although that’s obviously not the way she wanted to hold onto her belt.
While potential challengers such as Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot are waiting in the wings, Cormier doesn’t see any alternative but to let Grasso and Shevchenko run it back for a third time to hopefully settle this rivalry once and for all.
“I think so, I think you have to [do it again],” Cormier said. “Valentina was going to be the champ tonight if not for a very bad fifth round. You have to [run it back for a trilogy]. It’s the best, most marketable, most competitive fight we have in the division right now.”