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ONE Championship Disbands Competition Committee, Moving Away from Official Fight Reviews

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Asian martial arts promotion, ONE Championship, recently announced that it will be doing away with conducting official reviews of fights in lieu of controversial decisions. It has also moved to dissolve its competition committee, with the organization instead opting to hold immediate rematches where needed.

The competition committee was made up of an independent panel of martial arts industry experts who were originally tasked to conduct official bout reviews when necessary.

However, controversial decisions are a hardly new occurence in the world of combat sports. Due to the highly subjective nature of judging in professional fights, results that fans and experts disagree with often arise.

ONE Championship has had many formal reviews of fights in the past. In 2021 alone, two high-profile bouts were sent to official review -- Ham Seo Hee’s split decision win over Denice Zamboanga, and Ok Rae Yoon’s dethroning of former lightweight world champion Christian Lee via unanimous decision.

Both Zamboanga and Lee suffered highly controversial losses, and had requested ONE’s competition committee to formally review their fights in hopes of overturning the results. However, both decisions were subsequently upheld.

Another controversial bout took place last Friday night, January 14, on the main card of the promotion’s ONE: HEAVY HITTERS event. Strawweight Muay Thai star Supergirl took home a split decision victory over Belarusian foe Ekaterina Vandaryeva.

ONE Championship Disbands Competition Committee, Moving Away from Official Fight Reviews

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Many experts who had watched the fight had Vandaryeva winning the contest, but it was ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong himself who voiced his opinion the loudest.

“Ekaterina easily won that fight, it was not even close,” Chatri told reporters in a post-event interview. “I just don’t know what the judges were seeing, what they were judging. She was one punch, one kick away from finishing Supergirl.

“I was super impressed. I just don’t see how she lost that fight, but I’m not a judge. We try to work with the best judges, but I know Muay Thai, and Ekaterina won that fight.”

ONE Championship Disbands Competition Committee, Moving Away from Official Fight Reviews

Supremely confident of Vandaryeva’s victory, Sityodtong even awarded her with one of three US $50,000 bonuses given out on the night -- the other two going to Saygid Izagakhmaev and Senzo Ikeda. The bonuses were given to fighters for their “gameness” and “exemplary performance.”

Sityodtong also said that an immediate rematch between the two was necessary, which both sides verbally agreed to.

For her part, Supergirl addressed the issue on her official Instagram account with a message to her fans:

“I got the W last night but the performance was so bad for me,” she wrote. “Due to covid and school stuff i haven’t fought for 1 year and 4 months till last night. It wasn’t my best performance but I did try my best at that time and keep forward for the whole fight. And I’m truly sorry that the results by the judges made you guys not happy with that. I fought and let the judges did their job. That’s out of my control. Sorry about that again. And congratulations to my opponent who won the bonus last night. You’re the best!”


Published : January 18, 2022