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9 Feb, 2020 10:35

'We need to start holding judges accountable': MMA fans and pros react as Jon Jones claims razor-thin decision at UFC 247

'We need to start holding judges accountable': MMA fans and pros react as Jon Jones claims razor-thin decision at UFC 247

Jon Jones continued his reign of dominance over the UFC light heavyweight division on Saturday night but several figures within the MMA community have said that his win against Dominick Reyes came as a result of bad judging.

Longtime UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will wake up on Sunday morning with the title belt once again in his possession but his UFC 247 opponent, Dominick Reyes, could be forgiven for expecting the same.

Jones was awarded the win on the scorecards (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) but the manner in which it came has been the source of debate since the moment it was announced in the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.  

Also on rt.com UFC 247: Jon Jones makes history as he retains light heavyweight title with controversial win over Dominick Reyes in Houston

Reyes, the undefeated challenger, appeared to have a good case for winning the first three rounds. His pace was troubling the usually extremely composed Jones, who found it hard to get to grips with the fight early on. The challenger out-struck the champion through the first 15 minutes of the fight, per official UFC statistics, and it was only in the final 10 minutes where Jones - perhaps sensing that his grasp on the championship belt was loosening - upped his intensity. 

It proved to be enough. When the scorecards were announced and Jones was revealed as the victor, it set off a whirlwind of debate on both social media and the broadcast itself as to the veracity of Jones' win and the state of judging in mixed martial arts as a whole. 

Daniel Cormier, the most heated rival of Jones' career, was a little less scathing in his assessment of the fight and the scoring, though he did admit that the lone 49-46 scorecard in favor of Jones was unusual.

The Rock, meanwhile, chose to stay out of it.

Israel Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion who has been engaged in very verbal rivalry with Jones in recent months, opted for a more streamlined appraisal of the fight and Jones' performance, tweeting three simple letters in response. 

Max Holloway, another former UFC champion, took another angle and said that fighters should be aware of the official scores after each round and that combat sports' are the only activities in which athletes don't know a result until the match is over.

Much like another close Jones victory several years ago against Alexander Gustafsson, this fight will almost certainly have a sequel. Reyes' status as a top dog at 205lbs is assured for now at least, meaning that there will be several big fights coming down the pipe for the 30-year-old.

The length of time he will have to wait for another opportunity at Jones will be an interesting 'tell' from both the UFC and the champion as to how close he came to wresting the title from him on Saturday night in Texas.

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