Never leave it in the hands of the judges, unless you can yank it back out again.
UFC president Dana White is in the unusual position of having that luxury. He indicated Tuesday that the UFC will move forward with its matchmaking activities as if the officials had awarded lightweight Ross Pearson a win over Diego Sanchez Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 42.
Though more or less every observer believed Pearson had comfortably won the fight, the cageside officials in Albuquerque gave a split-decision win to Sanchez.
"Pearson won that fight clearly," White told Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. "He easily won that fight. We have to treat Pearson like he won and give him that next-level fight."
In essence, that means no rematch between Pearson and Sanchez. Sanchez offered to fight Pearson again in the wake of the decision and its ensuing controversy, but now it seems Pearson will receive a higher-ranked opponent.
Pearson, for his part, claimed he was "robbed" by the judges. His camp immediately appealed the decision to the New Mexico Athletic Commission. The appeal is pending.
According to official statistics, Pearson landed more significant strikes and landed them at a higher percentage than Sanchez in all three rounds. Pearson also landed one takedown to Sanchez's no takedowns landed.
Most observers (and Pearson himself) simply assumed Pearson had won the match. Still, two of the three judges awarded the bout to Sanchez, with one scoring it 30-27 for Sanchez. Sanchez trains in Albuquerque, where he is a member of the prestigious Jackson-Winkeljohn fight camp.
"It was horrible," White said of the decision in the ESPN interview. "In the second round, Diego got dropped and one judge still gave him that round. Insanity, man. Pearson got robbed. ... Whoever gave that fight all three rounds to Sanchez should never judge a fight again."
In the wake of the ESPN report, Pearson took to Twitter to express his gratitude: