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Diego Sanchez vs. Ross Pearson
Diego Sanchez wins controversial decision over Ross Pearson in hometown of Albuquerque. PHOTO: Will Fox

New Mexico Athletic Commission Likely to Discipline Jason High, Unlikely to Change Sanchez-Pearson Decision

Jason High Pushes Referee, Ross Pearson Files Official Complaint Over Diego Sanchez Decision

The UFC debut in Albuquerque Saturday night will keep the New Mexico Athletic Commission busy for at least the next week.

An electric atmosphere last night at the Tingley Coliseum for UFC Fight Night 42 may have fueled the two issues the NMAC will be forced to review the next five  days.

One matter that will likely see a swift decision rendered is lightweight Jason High’s behavior after his loss to Rafael Dos Anjos on the Fox Sports 1 televised portion of the main card.

Being on the receiving end of what may have been a premature stoppage, High would show his distaste of Kevin Mulhall’s decision to call the contest by shoving the 10-year veteran referee.

With UFC President Dana White not in attendance due to a family function in Maine, Senior Director of Public Relations Dave Sholler would comment on the incident at the post-fight press conference:

“That decision is going to be ultimately up to the [New Mexico Athletic] commission when you talk about fines or suspensions,” he said. “On behalf of the organization, completely unacceptable. You can’t put your hands on an official.”

“From a decision-making standpoint, from fines and suspensions, that’s up to [NMAC] commissioner [Tom] King,” Sholler continued.

High would later apologize for his outburst on Twitter saying, “Incredibly sorry & embarrassed for the ref incident. Will never happen again.”

Jason High

Jason High apology via Twitter

Homecooking, Pearson Unjustly Grilled

The biggest controversy of the evening was of course Albuquerque native Diego Sanchez, being awarded a victory by split-decision in a bout that his opponent Englishman Ross Pearson seemed to dominate. The scores were as follows: 30-27 from California judge Marcos Rosales in favor of Pearson, a flabbergasting 30-27 from California judge Jeff Collins for Sanchez, and a 29-28 score from the only New Mexico judge Chris Tellez.

Earlier today, Gareth Davies, of Telegraph Sport in the United Kingdom confirmed that Pearson and his coach Eric Del Fierro have filed a complaint with the NMAC over the decision. The request for an appeal came immediately after the bout was over.

An overturn of the decision is highly unlikely based on the NMAC statute             CHANGE OF DECISION:

A.          Reasons Decisions May Be Changed: A decision rendered at the termination of any bout is final and cannot be changed unless the commission determines that any one of the following situations has occurred.

(1)     Collusion: That there was collusion affecting the results of any bout.

(2)     Scoring error: That an error occurred in the compilation of the judges scorecards that would indicate that the official decision had been awarded to the wrong contestant.

(3)     Violation of rules and regulations: That there was a clear violation of the rules and regulations governing the sanctioning of martial arts bouts that affected the result of the bout.

B.            Commission’s power to change decision: If the commission determines that any of the situations listed under Section A of this rule has occurred with regard to any bout, then the decision rendered shall be changed as the commission directs.

Collusion, and Violation of Rules and Regulations will be difficult to prove without hard, concrete evidence. Although most are still hoping that the head-scratching decision was a scoring error, there would have been some sort of affirmation by the NMAC by now.

The last major overturn by the NMAC took place three years ago at Shark Fights 15 when Albuquerque’s Joey Villaseñor and Chris Camozzi’s main event bout at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho was originally declared a split-draw.

A scoring error on one of the judge’s scorecards should have awarded the bout to Camozzi (ref’s card was read as 29-29 when he in fact scored the fight 29-28 Camozzi). It would take the commission nearly a month and a half to make the overturn and rightfully give Camozzi his win.

We expect to hear the decisions on Jason High’s reprimand, and Ross Pearson’s appeal handed down by the NMAC within the week. Stay tuned to SWFight.com for more details.

About Jorge Hernandez

Jorge Hernandez is chief editor for SWFight.com, TV-Host of Combat Sports Weekly and Co-Host of Low Blow Radio. He can be reached on Twitter @JorgeDeBurque.