UFC star TJ Dillashaw has accused commentator Joe Rogan of favouring his opponent after he called the bantamweight's title bout against Dominick Cruz on Sunday.
Dillashaw lost the fight for the 135-pound championship in a controversial split decision, with plenty divided on who should have been crowned victor. Having lost his title, the former champion posted a message on Instagram after watching the fight back, and he didn’t have many kind words to say about Rogan’s commentary.
“Joe Rogan might need to go back and watch it again to hear how biased he was commentating, I agree with you it was a good close fight but think you picked Cruz before the fight started,” said the former champion.
Rogan has been accused of favouring fighters previously, with featherweight champion Conor McGregor suggesting last year, “I feel like he might be on Team Alpha Male a little bit anyways,” per Fox Sports (h/t Darragh Murphy of SportsJoe.ie).
That was after the commentator questioned the validity of the Irishman's interim featherweight belt, won against Alpha Male's Chad Mendes.
Dillashaw also called for a rematch against Cruz in his post, encouraging the new champion to stay in the sport and defend the gold: “Please Cruz, don't retire and give me that shot so I can get back what I believe is mine.”
As noted by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, this fight was a difficult one for the judges to call, and the scorecards afterwards reflected as much:
Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN
Here's the Cruz, Dillashaw scorecard. Not a lot of agreement between these three (which in this case, was expected). https://t.co/6lvnT50OhE2016-1-18 06:12:24
Cruz had been stripped of the title having never actually lost the belt. The Californian has suffered with two terrible knee injuries in recent years, limiting him to just one fight, which was a 61-second win over Takeya Mizugaki, in four years before his showdown with Dillashaw.
During Cruz's time away from the cage Dillashaw emerged as one of the dominant forces in the bantamweight division, and the two delivered a gripping spectacle when they did finally face off.
Luke Thomas of MMA Fighting thinks that despite losing in such heartbreaking circumstances, Dillashaw should be able to take some big positives from this fight:
Luke Thomas @SBNLukeThomas
Dillashaw lost, however controversially, but his technical progress & ability to compete have clearly benefited by augmenting training.2016-1-19 16:43:53
Given just how exciting the bout was, there are few fans who would not be happy if a rematch was scheduled.
Not only would the fight likely be another five rounds of pulsating action, but seeing Cruz back inside the Octagon on a regular basis would make up for what have been a hugely disappointing four years for him.
Regardless of what does happen, as Thomas noted above, Dillashaw seems to be improving as a fighter and on another day could easily have walked away from the fight as the champion.
It may be tough for him to take at the moment, with defeat still raw, but there’s still an exciting future in store for the former bantamweight king.