Judge Defends 30-27 Score in Guida vs. Hioki, Despite Being FB Friends with Clay

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Judge Defends 30-27 Score in Guida vs. Hioki, Despite Being FB Friends with Clay
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, a Bleacher Report article revealed that UFC featherweight Clay Guida is Facebook friends with judge Gabriel Sabaitis, which obviously doesn't mean a whole lot on its own. 

That's just the tip of the iceberg though, as Sabaitis was a judge in Clay Guida's UFC on FOX 6 featherweight debut against Hatsu Hioki, which took place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. 

Despite fans and analysts universally finding the fight to be very close, with many feeling Hioki got shafted with a split decision loss, Sabaitis scored the fight 30-27 in "The Carpenter's" favor. 

The story caused enough of a stir that Sabaitis defended himself on the matter when he spoke to mixedmartialarts.com on Wednesday. 

"I felt all 3 rnds were real close. Guida has an awkward style to score. I felt his aggression and TD out weighed (barely) Hioki's effective striking in the 1st. I also marginally gave him rnds 2&3...barely. But there's no half point scoring in MMA! There's 3 Judges for a reason. If both Judges gave it 29-28 Hioki and I gave it 30-27 Guida, then YES!! I am the new Cecil Peoples! But one DIDN'T!! And he's one of the most experienced Judges in the business!! He had it 29-28 Guida!! So that means he agrees with me more than the other Judge!! But this fight was so close it could've been 29-28 Hioki, no doubt. I respect everyone who believes Hioki won. I'm an open minded Judge, but I stand by my decision and it was made by using The MMA Judging Criteria NOT favoritism! My brother could be fighting and still wouldn't give him an undeserved decision!!!"

Guida was outstruck 16-26 in the first round, and did little, if any, damage after he scored a takedown late in the opening frame.

Even those who believe the cardio-machine won the fight would have a tough time arguing that he won the first round. 

In an exclusive interview with MMA Weekly, Hioki blamed his lack of takedown defense and submission skills for the loss, not poor judging.

"I hear a lot of people criticizing Guida’s strategy to lie on top; however, it was ultimately my lack of skills to get back on (to my) feet, stop these takedowns and submit an opponent who was staying tight while being on top to put myself on the losing end. I say this again: Guida won the fight fair and square. He was better than me at that night."

Was allowing Sabaitis to officiate the fight of one of his fellow Illinois-natives a poor move by the athletic commission or not a big deal at all?

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