by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Controversial decisions have become an unfortunate part of mixed martial arts, so much so that UFC president Dana White coined the phrase “don’t leave it in the hands of the judges.”
The judges at WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, may have very well cost Jamie Varner a shot at the lightweight title, taken from him by current champion Ben Henderson. After controlling the majority of his fight against Kamal Shalorus on Sunday night, mixed in with a point deduction from several low blows, Varner only came away with a draw for his performance.
Regardless of the low blows, Varner still feels like he put on a strong enough performance to sway the judges to his side when the fight was over.
“Minus the low blows, I still feel I won that fight,” he said later. “I got taken down once, and he controlled me down there for about two minutes. Kamal’s a tough guy. Every time I hit him, even the shots that hurt him, I had him doing the chicken dance, he came back and threw back harder and better.
“But I definitely felt like I did enough to win the fight. I landed the better strikes, I felt like I was more active, he was walking me down, but that’s who he is. He’s like the Terminator. I had to pick my shots, and that’s how I was able to wobble him and to get those successful strikes in.”
Judge Cameron Quwek scored the fight 29-27 for Shalorus, judge Nelson “Doc” Hamilton scored the fight 29-27 for Varner, and judge Cecil Peoples had it 28-28, which equates to a split draw.
Breaking down each round, Varner explains that he believes it was his fight anyway, even if the point deduction wouldn’t have happened. A third low blow came later in the fight, but referee Josh Rosenthal did not deduct a second point from Shalorus in the third round.
“I felt I won the fight without any of the low blows. The first round I won, I had him doing the chicken dance. I had him doing the chicken dance in the second round, and even in the third round I nailed him with a hook that had him like ‘woooo!’ I did get taken down,” Varner stated. “I felt I won the first round. I won the second round. I lost the third round.”
For his part, Shalorus did put his trust back in the hands of the judges and says maybe they saw something that most others did not.
“I can’t tell nothing. They see better, no complaint,” Shalorus commented.
The biggest downside to all this is that prior to the fight, WEC General Manager Reed Harris said the winner of the fight was in all likelihood in line for a shot at the 155-pound champion. With a draw being the final conclusion, everything is up in the air once again.
“There’s a lot of guys in that line,” Harris said about the 155-pound contender picture. “There’s Anthony Pettis and Shane Roller; there’s a bunch of guys. To be completely truthful with you, what will happen is next week I’ll sit down with Sean Shelby, the matchmaker, and we’ll just basically look at all the different guys.
“I can’t make that call tonight, just because I haven’t done that.”
Pettis and Roller will square off at WEC 50 in August in Las Vegas, while Jamie Varner sits on the sideline recovering from his injuries, not knowing if he did enough to earn a shot at Ben Henderson.