Former UFC Fighter Hermes Franca Takes Promoter, Not Judges To Task For Scandalous Decision

December 21, 2010
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Hermes Franca UFC 103

Hermes Franca at UFC 103

Former UFC fighter Hermes Franca hasn’t exactly performed at his peak ability over the past few years. He is 1-7 in his last eight fights.

That is, if you can count his most recent loss, which sounds extremely suspicious in the best of scenarios, completely scandalous if Franca and a witness at the fights are to be believed.

Franca apparently dominated his opponent, Ferrid Kheder, at Sunday’s Saint-Tropez Promotions “Xtreme Vale Todo V” in Costa Rica. The fight lasted three rounds, and went to a decision that even the referee had no doubts Franca had won.

When all was said and done, the in-ring announcer surprisingly declared Kheder the winner. The referee, who was so sure that Franca had won, refused to raise Kheder’s hand, according to Nick Roehrick, who was a fight fan in attendance.

Roehrick says that he and Franca’s cornerman talked to the referee and the ringside judges, who all indicated that they had scored the fight for Franca.

Franca declined an interview request to discuss the situation, saying that he is planning on posting a video about the decision, showing the scorecards from the judges at the fight.

He did, however, post comments (as well as a letter that Roehrick wrote and was sent to MMAWeekly.com) on MMA.tv’s The Underground forum, saying, “I want to make sure this promoter (Jean Francois Billon) isn’t involved with MMA anymore.

“It’s better that it happened to me, so that it won’t happen to anybody else,” he continued. “This is not a bad decision by the judges, as you all know. Think about if Bruce Buffer announced GSP the winner, and then Dana White said, ‘No. Koscheck won, because I say so,’ and then handed Josh the belt. Lol. Guys, this is real serious. This is my career in the game. I spent a lot of money training for this fight, going to San Diego for three weeks, and Miami before that. I wonder if any organization in the U.S. would want to see this rematch, so that I could beat Ferrid’s ass again. He has my belt, but he has no honor or pride.”

An MMAWeekly.com request for comment from XVT 5 promoter Jean-Francois Billon received no response at the time of publication.

Below is Roehrick’s open letter that was sent to MMAWeekly.com and Franca posted in his thread on The Underground, detailing Roehrick’s credibility, as well as the happenings at XVT 5:

An Open Letter to MMA Fighters, Fans & All Concerned

I am writing this letter because I have tremendous admiration for pugilistic endeavors and great respect for the dedication and courage displayed by the combatants.  I just witnessed a travesty unfold that damages the MMA at its very core and needs to be brought to light.

My Name is Nick Roehrick, I currently manage a NASCAR driver and have been in the promotions business for well over twenty years.  I was a Citified USA Amateur Boxing Referee in the past; and once upon on a time (2004), promoted a professional boxing match with George Foreman’s brother Roy. I have been an avid MMA fan since its inception in the early 90’s and I’m very familiar with how it’s scored.

Tonight (December 19th 2010) I attended a Mixed Martials Arts event while in Cartago Costa Rica promoted by an organization called Xtreme Vale Todo.  I was attending this event strictly as a fan and certainly have no “skin” on any particular fighter or outcome, I am completely unbiased.

I arrived at the gate about an hour and a half before the fights were to begin and purchased a ringside seat, sat down and became acquainted with a few other fans seating next to me and got ready to enjoy the show. The event was scheduled to run head up with the Costa Rica National Soccer Championship, which I’m sure contributed to the somewhat spruce attendance. The fights started pretty much on time and I was delighted with my unobstructed view of the octagon.

I am going to skip to the main event, a fight between Franca (Brazil) and Kheder (France). Franca easily won all three rounds of the bout, his striking was superior as was his grappling, and he displayed dominating leg kicks and in fact closed out both the first and third rounds riding on Kheder’s back.

Here’s where it really offended my sensibilities as the manager of a professional athlete, as a fan and as a paying customer. When the winner was to be announced there was a delay, after a few awkward moments the referee begin to raise Franca’s hand then the announcer who is French as is Kheder, called for Kheder’s hand to be raised, the referee refused to raise Kheder’s hand so the announcer raised it. The fans started booing at this obvious sham!

I witnessed the corner man (an American) for Franca pleading to the announcer to check the scorecards again. The French announcer, who only moments before I personally heard speak perfect Queen’s English, now acted as though he understood nothing this poor corner man was saying; I found this utterly despicable and decided to get involved. The promoter had rushed from the arena immediately after the fans started to voice their displeasure with this travesty of sportsmanship and fair play so she was unavailable to comment.

I introduced myself to the corner man and he tells me his name is Dave Jansen.  The announcer refuses to acknowledge that he has the score cards when I tell him he’s obligated to show them to Franc’s team. Being familiar with how this process works and not having the emotional involvement of the Dave the corner man I suggest we talk directly to the judges. The two of us approach the three judges and we ask them who they awarded the fight to, all three say Franca. We then ask the referee and he tells us he too had Franca as the winner, he tells us he refused to raise Kheder’s hand because Franca won and in fairness he wouldn’t raise Kheder’s hand (I commend him for that). I even hear Kheder saying to the French announcer (in English no less) to call the fight a “no contest”!

Even if you watch the fight and confabulate that somehow Kheder won, that’s not the issue here; bad calls happen and we move on. The fact is that all three judges and the referee declared Franca the winner and told me so; I’m an independent party with only integrity and fair play as a motive. The actual judging was in fact discarded and the promoter independently decided the victor which in the United States would warrant an investigation and possible sanctions by the governing body towards the promoter. A side note, the promoter is an American and this might explain why she’s not promoting MMA events in the United States.

After talking to all three judges and the referee we went before the cameras to plead Franca’s case, but to no avail. Yet another Frenchmen warned corner man Dave Jensen that if he didn’t stop protesting the decision they would hold Franca’s purse.  Follow the money is an adage often spoken, if the Frenchmen were able to withhold the purse would the also be able to decide the outcome? Yes, and alas that’s exactly what they did.

Corner men Dave Jensen fought the good fight on behalf of his fighter, but like Franca, it was a fight he can’t win.  My heart goes out to both these young men and their entire team, it is so transparent that the fix was in and their cause was hopeless in this regard. You see Kheder had three ways to win, KO, submission or decision; while Franca only had two, KO or submission, a decision was a forgone conclusion in favor of Kheder.

I said all that to say this!  If you’re an MMA fan don’t attend Xtreme Vale Todo, if you’re an MMA fighter don’t fight for Xtreme Vale Todo.  If you’re a sponsor don’t patronize Xtreme Vale Todo;  Sherdog or any other outlet for MMA, don’t air Xtreme Vale Todo. I plead to anyone that values fair play, integrity and honor to stay away from Xtreme Vale Todo; don’t support them with your money, they are part of the problem and not part of the solution as to what’s wrong with combat sports. There’s an old saying that was true of boxing for the longest time: “The only thing square in boxing is the ring.”  Don’t let that become true of MMA, stop bottom feeding organizations like Xtreme Vale Todo from exploiting and using fighters for crooked gain. They not only hurt the sport of MMA they hurt all sports because fans become disgusted and apathetic to sports in general.

To Xtreme Vale Todo, have you no shame? Crawl back under whatever rock you crawled from beneath.  The sporting world doesn’t need nor want people of your ilk, people on the take for short end money. I have no doubt that you will fall of your own weight given time, I simply want to hasten the process a little, because unlike you I respect the hard work and dedication that these young men pour into their passion. I won’t stand by and watch as you discount all three of the judges and the referee on what was in fact a unanimous decision by Franca, as a professional I am compelled to call you out. You Xtreme Vale Todo are scum!

I hope a least the soccer fans of Costa Rica got to see a righteous sporting event tonight!

  • REKillzone

    Just watched the fight over on Sherdog and yes it was a bullshit decision. The ref even raised Hermes’ hand instead. Feel bad for Franca.

  • AIMLET

    messed up

  • zaggy

    I had the misfortune of buying tickets and attending this poorly organized event. There were ridiculously long delays between fights, mismatches that would make a Japanese promoter blush, and the main event was a complete disaster.

    I’ve been disappointed with the main local promoter (Fite Nite) and was hoping this new promotion would be an improvement, but it was much, much worse.