Hermes Franca had a good night turn bad recently after what looked like an easy unanimous decision win turn into a nightmare after a promoter apparently switched the judges’ decision, handing him a loss.
The event, XVT 5, which took place in Costa Rica on Dec 19 featured Franca in the night’s main event against Ferrid Kheder. After a three round fight, everyone was ready to hand Franca the win, but apparently the promoter had different ideas.
“To tell the truth, I’ve had bad decisions before, I knew I won this fight, my corner was there, and there wasn’t a lot of action or a lot of scrambles. It was a little bit of stand-up so I knew I won the stand-up, when it went to the ground I took his back, stayed there the whole time, and punched him. It wasn’t a scramble to say whoa who won? I knew it,” Franca told MMAWeekly.com in an exclusive interview.
“After the fight I was happy, but I knew something was wrong. Everybody was like surprised, and Dave Jansen was my corner, he was my training partner, and he was like ‘Hermes you won’ and he saw the final card in the announcer’s hand. That promoter, Jean-Francois he changed, when the referee raised my hand, and you have to see the video of the referee’s face, it was shocking, he refused to raise the other guy’s hand.”
The promoter Jean-Francois Billon claims no such action took place. In an e-mail to MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday, Billon responded by saying, “Ferrid and Hermes are great fighters, I really appreciate both of them and that’s true the announcement was confusing. (A) judge told me Ferrid (won) that’s it, but nobody want a finish with any doubt. It’s a decision…of course XVT don’t want people think we have interest for a fighter.”
Following the fight, Franca says he also spoke to one of the judges and their version of the story was much different than Billon’s.
“One of the judges came to me and said ‘Hermes, I’m sorry’ and I said do me a favor give me the scorecards, so he gave me the scorecards,” Franca explained. “Of course it’s just a piece of paper, it’s not official, no names no nothing, anyone can do that, but he gave them to me. I was like ‘why didn’t you guys do something?’ He laughed and never gave me any answer.”
According to the scorecards that Franca was handed, he won the fight across the board. The Brazilian also spoke to some local officials from Costa Rica, who while not involved with this particular show, painted a bad picture of everything that went down last Sunday night.
“A couple guys have been working hard to make MMA big (in Costa Rica) and they didn’t work with the show. He’s trying to collect more information about the judges, trying to see if they judge can write a statement officially stating Hermes won all the rounds 10-9. But a couple guys they’re scared, the promoter make revenge against them and a couple guys still didn’t get paid,” said Franca. “That’s the whole problem.”
Franca says he deposited his pay from the show into his back account yesterday and as of yet has had no indications that he won’t receive his purse for any reason.
The controversy over the fight hit the internet almost immediately and since that time Billon has changed the ruling of the fight to a no-contest. He also went on to say that the fighters have agreed to a rematch down the road.
“Fight will be no contest and both fighters agree verbally to a rematch this time on 5 rounds as it should be as soon as possible,” said Billon in an e-mail. “We feel sorry if fans are disappointed but we (will) fix it and now we have the most expected revenge (fight) for the world title as ever.”
The only problem…Franca has never spoken to the promoter and has no intentions of fighting for them again.
“They changed it to a no-contest and I told them that’s not what I wanted because the thing is I want everybody to understand it’s not like a bad decision. It’s not about the referee, it’s not about judges, it’s about the guy who stepped in the cage and said ‘change it, change it, it’s not Hermes, it’s Ferrid (Kheder). Unfortunately, all of the judges they can do nothing,” said Franca.
“Not from him, nobody called me to offer me (the fight). No way I’m going to fight under this organization anymore. Maybe we can fight, but not under this promoter.”
Franca gave a telling analogy about what just happened to him, compared to another organization and how outraged everyone would be if this was the case. He adds that he has nothing bad to say about the fans or the people in Costa Rica and would be happy to fight there again, just not under these circumstances.
“It’s nothing against Costa Rica, I know everybody was so upset at the judges, it’s not about the judges. It’s just about this guy, that’s it,” Franca stated.
“It’s like can you imagine after Georges St-Pierre and (Josh) Koscheck fight, just an example, Bruce Buffer says ‘the winner is GSP’ and Dana White steps in the Octagon and says ‘no, no, no, it’s Koscheck because I say so.’ That’s my situation right now.”
After the initial correspondence from Billon, he has not returned any further messages from MMAWeekly.com.