Gilbert Melendez understands why so many people may be obsessed over the idea that a judging controversy took place at UFC on FOX 7, but as far as he’s concerned, no such thing exists.

In fact, following a narrow split-decision loss to UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (19-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) at this past weekend’s UFC on FOX 7 event, Melendez (21-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) said he’s encouraged by one aspect of the supposed conflict of interest.

Soon after Melendez, Strikeforce’s final lightweight champion, suffered his title loss on April 20, many in the industry focused on judge Wade Vierra, who was the only one of three judges to submit a winning score for Melendez. As it turns out, Vierra served was an instructor at a school affiliated with Melendez’s occasional coach, Cesar Gracie.

“I don’t know the guy, but it’s good to know someone is training out there that’s a judge,” Melendez today told MMAjunkie.com Radio. “I don’t know the dude. I don’t know Wade Vierra. I don’t. I can’t say I haven’t shook someone’s hand or something. I’ve met a lot of people in my life. But do I know Wade Vierra? Is he in my phonebook? Do I see him or do I know him? No. I don’t know who the guy is. I don’t know him.”

In fact, in a recent chat with MMAjunkie.com, California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer Andy Foster defended the assignment of Vierra, who scored the highly competitive fight 48-47 for Melendez. Judges Derek Cleary and Michael Bell, meanwhile, scored it 48-47 for Henderson, who took the split-decision win and defended his title for the third time.

“I think it’d be a bigger deal if I won, but either way, I lost,” Melendez said. “Either I lost the split or the unanimous. It doesn’t matter. I lost, dude. I lost. It doesn’t really matter. Benson is still the champ.”

But what if he learned that Cleary or Bell were somehow affiliated with the The MMA Lab, Henderson’s primary camp? Melendez supports the idea that commissions should assure there are no obvious conflicts of interest, but in the case of Vierra, he said there simply isn’t one.

Still, he hates to think a possible win would have been tainted by such speculation.

“The MMA Lab isn’t a brand like the Gracie’s that’s been around for years and they just franchise to everyone,” he said. “The Gracie brand is huge. The Lab is a little different, but yeah, that’s not my job. But [the commissions] should pay attention to all that kind of stuff. Of course you don’t want a conflict of interest. I wouldn’t want to win and everyone tell me I’m a cheater or something like that. I don’t want to win on an F-upped type of thing.”

Melendez said we should instead focus on the positives, including the fact that an MMA judge actually has an idea about what’s going in the cage. He said that’s an important aspect of this whole saga.

“The positive thing is that if the guy is training, that’s a good thing,” he said. “Yeah, you’ve got be selective about [any potential conflicts of interest], but some judges just don’t know what’s going on. I wish they’d get on the mat and train and really feel what it’s like and do some boxing or some muay Thai and visit some gyms.”

As for the fight itself, Melendez took a little time off immediately afterward but finally watched a replay with a fresh set of eyes. And his opinion is the same now that it was on fight night.

“I really thought I won that fight,” he said. “I felt I won the first two (rounds) and the last. And honestly, the third, I thought it was pretty dang close and that I won that too.

“It was a close one. It was a battle. Benson Henderson is a stud. But I thought just I was the more dominant fighter in there and taking more risks and making it a fight. I could go on and on about it, but it is what it is, I guess.”

As for what’s next, Melendez is scheduled to marry his longtime girlfriend, fighter Keri Anne Taylor, in July. He said he’ll be ready for another UFC fight two or three months after that. Potential opponents? He named everyone from Anthony Pettis to Donald Cerrone to Jim Miller to Joe Lauzon to Diego Sanchez. He said he’s essentially a kid in a candy store as he anticipates all the potential new matchups that weren’t previously available when he ruled Strikeforce.

Sure, he’s coming off a loss, but he feels like he represented Strikeforce well, dismissed complaints about his quality of competition in recent years, and that fight fans are going to be excited to see his next bout.

“Honestly, I felt like the biggest winner that night,” he said. “I really did. I really feel like I made a statement. It was devastating to lose, but I feel like I arrived in the UFC. I got respect. A lot of people thought I was garbage (previously), so there’s a lot of positive things. I’m actually pretty high on life right now.”

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 7, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Bobby Nash replaces Yancy Medeiros, meets Li Jingliang at UFC on FOX 23

  • 20 days ago
  • 9 views

UFC newcomer Bobby Nash has replaced Yancy Medeiros and is slated to meet fellow welterweight Li Jingliang at UFC on FOX 23.Filed under: News read news >>

Henrique da Silva vs. Johnson, Caceres vs. Knight added to UFC on FOX 23

  • 11 days ago
  • 1 views

UFC on FOX 23’s fight card is quickly filling with the addition of two new bouts.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC on FOX 23 loses Hector Lombard vs. Brad Tavares, adds Alessio Di Chirico vs. Eric Spicely

  • 11 days ago
  • 3 views

A fight between UFC welterweights Hector Lombard and Brad Tavares has been scratched from UFC on FOX 23.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Miss UFC 207's biggest controversy? We've got photos of the knee that launched all the questions

  • 22 days ago
  • 22 views

LAS VEGAS – UFC 207 opened up with plenty of confusion and controversy on Friday night. If you missed the fight, we’ve got all the photos from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.Filed under: Featured read news >>

What's Next If Ronda Rousey Loses? Dana White Weighs In (video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 22 days ago
  • 21 views

So what happens next if Ronda Rousey doesn't win at UFC 207? Dana White weighs in. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 103 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into UFC on Fox 23

  • 6 days ago
  • 3 views

UFC Fight Night 103 is in the books. The results are as follows, via Bleacher Report's Craig Amos: Main Card on Fox Sports 1 Yair Rodriguez def. BJ Penn, TKO (Round 2, 0:24) Joe Lauzon def. Marcin He read news >>

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET): UFC featherweight and ex-Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez

  • 3 days ago
  • 2 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guest Gilbert Melendez.Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC read news >>

Video: Watch UFC on FOX 23 headliner Valentina Shevchenko's full 2015 bout with Sarah Kaufman

  • 3 days ago
  • 4 views

Valentina Shevchenko could be fighting for a title shot later this month at UFC on FOX 23. Ahead of that bout, check out her first UFC fight.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Watch Valentina Shevchenko Defeat Sarah Kaufman (UFC Denver Free Fight) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 3 days ago
  • 17 views

Before she takes on Juliana Pena at UFC on FOX 23 in Denver, check out Valentina Shevchenko's win over Sarah Kaufman. read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2366 with Gilbert Melendez

  • 2 days ago
  • 1 views

Stream or download Thursday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guest Gilbert Melendez.Filed under: News, Radio, UFC read news >>