Following the main event between UFC Welterweight Champion George St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, many fans expected a new champion to be crowned before the two left the octagon, however, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
In one of the most controversial split decisions in UFC history, GSP retained his welterweight belt via split decision.
In a recent interview with MMAFighting.com, UFC referee Mario Yamasaki said that he believed Hendricks deserved the win, not GSP:
“I’m inside the cage so I can’t see the fight as the judge sees it, but I thought Hendricks won the fight. I thought Hendricks dominated the fight, it was brutal, and I was surprised when they gave St-Pierre the win. But I’m not the judge. I look at the fight with different eyes.”
Yamasaki also defended himself against criticism from fans regarding his officiating during the main event. Many believe that he had briefly paused the fight in GSP’s favor when the champ appeared to be in some trouble.
“The rules say that when the mouthpiece falls and the action continues, I can’t stop the fight. Hendricks kept pressuring, but then they started working in the clinch, so I stopped it. I wouldn’t have stopped the fight if he kept punching. I’m there to protect the athlete. There’s no reason why I would let him hurt his mouth.”
Yamasaki made it clear he believes that Hendricks won the fight, however, he also acknowledged that judges analyze fights differently than fans do. He also spoke his mind regarding the post-fight comments of UFC President Dana White.
“As a promoter, (Dana White) can say anything he wants. He has never done a judging course, so he analyzes the fight as a fan. But (NSAC) needs to do only one judging course to set one criteria on how to analyze a fight. Every referee does his course, so they teach their way to judge a fight.”