UFC President Dana White didn’t agree with the resulting majority draw, however, so he took matters into his own hands after a call he felt was “absolutely not” justified.
“I thought it was insane and it cost him the fight,” White told reporters after the event on Saturday at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. “I paid him his win money. He won that fight, so I paid him.”
The Choi vs. Nelson fight was a tough back and forth fight with both fighters landing heavy shots early on. Choi seemed to weather the storm better and inched ahead in work-rate and volume.
According to official scorecards released by the UFC, judges agreed that Choi took the last two rounds of the fight via 10-9 scores. But because of the point deduction in the third round, the final tally was 29-27, 28-28 and 28-28, resulting in a majority draw.
Referee Chris Tognoni stopped the fight in the final frame when Choi held top position in Nelson’s guard and appeared to clash heads with Nelson. A replay official was utilized, and Tognoni shortly after deducted a point from Choi’s score.
White is known to disregard official results in cases he feels strongly about. But he felt no need to run back the featherweight fight.
“It was a tough fight, but in my opinion, Choi won the fight, and sometimes the refereeing or judging isn’t perfect,” he said. “So sometimes I do what I can do, take it into my own hands. I felt like that kid got robbed on that ridiculous call.”
Afterward, Choi and Nelson appeared to be in good spirits despite the outcome. The result denied Choi the satisfaction of snapping a three-fight skid, however, while Nelson avoided a third straight loss.