Valentina Shevchenko believes embattled MMA judge Mike Bell made a mistake that he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
Suffice it to say, ‘Bullet’ is still fuming following her Noche UFC headliner with reigning flyweight world champion Alexa Grasso. Through the 25-minute affair, fans were treated to an exciting back-and-forth scrap that could have easily gone either way on the scorecards. Following the fifth round, two of the judges were split on the winner leaving it up to Mike Bell to decide who would go home with the gold.
Fans, and even UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby were left dumbfounded when Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer revealed that Bell scored the bout an even 47-47 resulting in the bout being dubbed a split draw. The controversial score came courtesy of Bell’s inexplicable 10-8 round in favor of Grasso. Had Bell scored it a much more reasonable 10-9 in favor of Shevchenko, she would have become a two-time flyweight champion.
48 hours removed from the event, Valentina Shevchenko once again vented her frustrations over the decision during an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
“I’m very proud of what I did inside the Octagon and I do know exactly three rounds for certain… Rounds three through five were my rounds,” Shevchenko said. “I won those rounds and from the other side, I think a few things in the fight were completely unfair. Definitely the scorecard in the final round. In the fifth round, the 10-8. [Judge] Mike Bell did some inexplicable things and I think the whole world would love to hear an explanation. But from the other side, it’s not me. He’s going to live with that mistake forever.”
"He is going to live with that mistake forever.”
Valentina Shevchenko calls judge Mike Bell's scorecard "inexplicable" and requests an explanation. #TheMMAHour
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) September 18, 2023
Mike Bell’s scorecard has been heavily scrutinized by practically everyone in the MMA community. Noche UFC commentators Jon Anik, Dominick Cruz, and Daniel Cormier were immediately critical of the confusing score with ‘DC’ going on to call it “one of the worst scorecards that I’ve seen in a really long time.”
“There is nothing clear in that, the reason it was a 10-8,” Shevchenko said. “No one is speaking about it, and my guess is because there is no explanation for that. It’s kind of like he had me on his scorecard winning three rounds, and it looks like in the final round he was like, ‘Oh my God, I cannot let this happen! I’ll just switch my mind and give a 10-8.’
“In our sport, 10-8 is when a fighter cannot do anything. He just goes in the round, running around from the opponent and trying to survive. This is 10-8. But you could see in the fifth round, it’s not even close to a 10-8. In the standup, all the hits that I was hitting were hard hits, and I felt that a few of them, they landed very hard to her and she was kind of shook up. I felt it. It’s completely not a 10-8. Control doesn’t mean 10-8. Control, is nothing. Damage, there wasn’t any damage like that in the final round.”
Valentina Shevchenko Wants a Trilogy Bout with Alexa Grasso to Take Place in Kyrgyzstan
Shevchenko also remained adamant that the decision was likely influenced by the event taking place on Mexican Independence Day which made Grasso, who was born in Guadalajara, the favorite among fight fans inside the T-Mobile Arena.
Should the UFC decide to book a trilogy bout between the two fighters, ‘Bullet’ hopes she can convince the UFC to take the fight to her home country so she can have the home-field advantage this time around.
“I think it would be fair and very right to have next event in Kyrgyzstan, Independence Day of Kyrgyzstan,” Valentina Shevchenko stated. “It’s going to be very smart because it has to be equal. We’re going to do Independence Day twice, very fair. I think all of the people in Kyrgyzstan, all the governments in Kyrgyzstan, they will do everything possible to make it happen.”
She continued, “That’s why I think if the UFC wants to do that, they will find a way to do that… So I think it’s going to be fair. Independence Day of Kyrgyzstan, in Kyrgyzstan, I think it’s time to do that. It’s the very right time to do that.”
The promotion has never hosted an event in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan. In 2021, the UFC opened a state-of-the-art gym in the country’s capital of Bishkek.
“Our president of Kyrgyzstan, Sadir Japarov, he’s very in the sport. He’s a sports person, and it’s very important for me as an athlete to have this support from him as well. So it’s kind of like, yes, I think it’s going to be fair—Independence Day of Kyrgyzstan in Kyrgyzstan, and it’s time to do that. I think it’s very right time to do that.”
You can watch the full interview below: