Douglas Crosby will have to explain his controversial decision over the past weekend.
In the Bellator 289 main event, Raufeon Stots secured a split-decision victory against Danny Sabatello. When the scorecards were read, there was instant confusion as Crosby, a longtime MMA judge, scored the fight 50-45 to Sabatello. The other two judges awarded Stots the win with scorecards of 48-47. Several days later, Mike Mazzulli, president of the Association of Boxing Commissions and head of the Mohegan Tribe commission, released a statement saying:
“In the last Bellator event (December 9, 2022) there was a controversy in the Sabatello vs. Stots fight. After reviewing the fight, three rounds of the five rounds were extremely close and the other two were marginally close rounds… One judge had Sabatello winning all five rounds, which is controversial. But ultimately Stots won the decision, which is the correct result. In an effort to make this a learning moment, I have informed all three judges we will be reviewing the fight together.”
The official statement from Mazzulli continued by saying:
“This is a very serious situation. The Mohegan Tribe Athletic Department always looks out for the best interests of all fighters. In the past the Mohegan Tribe Athletic Department has sanctioned officials that are not performing to the level that is required. Such sanctions, when they occur, are not made public.”
Four of six votes on MMA Decisions had Stots winning, with the other two being 48-47 for Sabatello. Nonetheless, Crosby’s 50-45 scorecard is challenging to explain. Luckily, Mazzulli is ensuring an explanation will be provided.
Statement from Mike Mazzulli, president of ABC and head of the Mohegan Tribe commission, on Doug Crosby’s 50-45 scorecard.
“This is a very serious situation.” pic.twitter.com/c50Ljme8EP
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 13, 2022
Ali Abdelaziz believes every state commission should ban Douglas Crosby from being an MMA judge
Douglas Crosby’s 50-45 scorecard for the Bellator 289 main event wasn’t his only questionable scorecard of the weekend. Crosby was also one of three judges to award Paddy Pimblett a unanimous decision win against Jared Gordon at UFC 282, which has received backlash from the MMA community.
Gordon’s manager Ali Abdelaziz was one of many to disagree with Pimblett’s win. The Dominance MMA management founder had this to say on Twitter:
“I’m going to ask every commission out there not to have Douglas Crosby as judge, and I would like the support of all promotions these guy are ruining people life and ruining the sport enough is enough we have to stand together on this topic @bokamotoESPN @JohnMorgan_MMA”
Crosby’s questionable scorecards have showcased a bigger issue. The lack of transparency in MMA scoring has led to confusion for fighters, coaches, and fans. Hopefully, the controversy behind the Bellator 289 main event will lead to improvements in the scoring criteria.
I’m going to ask every commission out there not to have Douglas Crosby as judge, and I would like the support of all promotions these guy are ruining people life and ruining the sport enough is enough we have to stand together on this topic @bokamotoESPN @JohnMorgan_MMA
— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) December 11, 2022