UFC 208 was a generally terrible card and the night ended fittingly, with a controversial main event between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie.
In one of the worst officiating displays in recent UFC history, referee Todd Anderson looked the other way on two separate late hit incidents by De Randamie, and he was notably quick to break up Holm's attempts to work in the clinch.
This helped the Dutch fighter secure a unanimous 48-47 decision victory to become the inaugural UFC women's featherweight champion, and it also resulted in a tidal wave of criticism directed at the event's officials. UFC President Dana White was quick to co-sign that sentiment, and puts the blame squarely on the New York State Athletic Commission.
"I feel like the ref from New York shouldn't be reffing a main event fight," he said on Fox Sports 1 in an interview with Megan Olivi. "They don't have enough experience. He should not have been in there. But, again, we don't make those decisions. The commission does, and it was a bad decision by them. And if that guy takes a point for hitting after the bell, it's a draw."
In 1997, MMA was famously banned in dozens of states and largely forced off television following the controversial "there are no rules" early days of the UFC. While the sanctions would be lifted state-by-state as time went on, New York was infamously slow to legalize MMA, holding out until 2016.
While the UFC was quick to celebrate this by booking four events in the state, there have been noticeable growing pains for the New York State Athletic Commission as it expands into MMA. Those struggles came to a head at UFC 208, which saw a slew of mistakes by the judges, referees and commission.
Holm was likely the hardest hit by those miscues but if anyone is expecting the promotion to help set things right...think again.
"Yeah, [Cris] Cyborg's next," White flatly said when asked what the future holds for De Randamie. "She's got some hurdles to get over first, but, like I said earlier in the week, it was looking good for her...I think Holly will probably go to 135 again."
That's rough for Holm, who is now riding a three-fight losing streak since famously running through Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. But, of course, as one of the few legitimate draws in women's MMA, she's never too far away from another shot at gold.